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High Case of Drawers, Mahogany 
with Brass Mounts 

Metropolitan Museum 



Author of ^^ French and English Furniture,'' 
^^ Dutch and Flemish Furniture^' etCy etc. 

» ^ '»'**» »* 

» » » * 


191 1 


Copyright, 191 1| 
By DuFFiKLD & CoMPAinr 

.••- r •/• : . • • 



I. Styles and Schools i 

II. The Chest, Armoire, Dressoir, Court-Cupboard, 
Sideboard, Buffet, Cabinet, Commode, Bureau, 
Desk 95 

III. The Bed 149 

IV. Seats 174 

V. The Table 216 

VI. Mirrors, Screens, Clocks 239 

Index 255 



High Case of Drawers, Mahogany with Brass Mounts, 

Eighteenth Century Frontispiece 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Facing page 

Plate I. Bahut, Fourteenth Century .... 8 

Cluny Museum. 

Plate II. Tilting Chest, Fifteenth Century . 10 

Cluny Museum. 

Plate III. Gothic Settle 12 

Nuremberg Museum. 

Plate IV. Gothic Bedstead 14 

Munich Museum. 

Plate V. Gothic Bedstead 16 

Nuremberg Museum. 

Plate VI. Gothic Press from the Tyrol (about 

1500) 18 

Nuremberg Museum. 

Plate VII. Gothic Cupboard with Linenfold 

Panels 20 

Nuremberg Museum. 

Plate VIII. Gothic Credence (French) .... 22 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate IX. Gothic Chairs 24 

Munich Museum. 

List of Illustrations 

Facing page 

Plate X. Bedstead, dated 1530, owned by the 

Princess Palatine Susanna ... 26 

Munich Museum. 

Plate XL Italian Renaissance Chest .... 28 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate XII. Burgundian Dressoir (1570) .... 30 

Plate XIII. Carved Bedstead, Francois I. . . . 32 

Cluny Museum. 

Plate XIV. Armoire He de France. Middle of 

Sixteenth Century 34 

Plate XV. Chair, Lyonnais, Sixteenth Century 36 

Plate XVI. Carved Oak Court-Cupboard, Tudor 

Period 38 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate XVII. Court, or Press, Cupboard, American 

(1680-1690) 40 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate XVIII. Seventeenth Century Chairs, Italian, 

Carved and Gilt 42 

Parma Museum. 

Plate XIX. Seventeenth Century Arm-chair 

Covered with Cordovan Leather 44 
Lucca. . 

Plate XX. Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century 

Venetian and Roman Chairs and 
a Tyrolean Stool {escarbeau) . . 46 
Museo Civico, Milan. 

Plate XXL Jacobean Court-Cupboard .... 48 

Metropolitan Museum, 

Plate XXII. 

Plate XXIII. 
Plate XXIV. 

Plate XXV. 

Plate XXVI. 
Plate XXVII. 

Plate XXVIII. 
Plate XXIX. 

Plate XXX. 
Plate XXXI. 
Plate XXXII. 

List of Illustrations 

Facing page 
Marquetry Writing-Desk, Chinese 

Designs, Queen Anne 50 

Metropolitan Museum. 

The same (open) 52 

High Case of Drawers, Lacquered, 

1730-1740 54 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Louis XIV. Arm-chair Covered with 

Genoa Velvet 56 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Chaise Confessionale, Transitional 
from Louis XIV. to Regency 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Commode by Andre-Charles Boulle . 58 

Wallace Gallery. 

Mahogany and Gilt Mirror. Marot 

Style 60 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Show-table. William and Mary . . 62 
Metropolitan Museum. 

Chest of Drawers on Stand, Anglo- 
Dutch 64 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Anglo-Dutch Chairs 66 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Louis XV. Encoignure and Lady's 

Work-table 68 

Louis XV. Arm-chair 70 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Chippendale Arm-chair 72 


List of Illustrations 

Facing page 

Plate XXXIV. Chippendale Three-back Settee 74 

Plate XXXV. Louis XVI. Chairs 76 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate XXXVI. Louis XVI. Commode, by Benne- 

man 78 

Plate XXXVII. Adam Console-table and Top ... 80 

Plate XXXVIII. Heppelwhite Desk with Tambour 

Shutters 82 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate XXXIX. Sideboard in the Style of Shearer . 84 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate XL. Heppelwhite and Sheraton Chairs . 86 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate XLI. Sheraton Dwarf Cabinet and Top . . 88 
Plate XLII. Sheraton Chairs 90 

Plate XLIII. Empire Chairs 92 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate XLIV. Table and Chair by Duncan Phyffe, 
owned by Mr. R. T. Haines 
Halsey, New York 94 

Plate XLV. Carved Oak Chest. Early French 

Renaissance (about 1500) ... 96 

English Transitional Chest (about 
Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate XL VI. Sixteenth Century Italian Marriage 

Coffer 98 

Cluny Museum. 


Plate XLVII. 

Plate XLVIII. 
Plate XLIX. 
Plate L. 

Plate LI. 

Plate LII. 
Plate LIII. 

Plate LIV. 

Plate LV. 

Plate LVI. 
Plate LVIL 

Plate LVIII. 

Plate LIX. 

List of Illustrations 

Facing page 
Sixteenth Century Italian Marriage 

Coffer 100 


Sixteenth Century Carved Chest, 

Lyonnais 102 

Armoire, Lyonnais. End of Sixteenth 

Century 104 

Seventeenth Century Kas, or Ar- 

moire, from South Germany . . 106 
Metropolitan Museum. 

Seventeenth Century Kas, or Ar- 

moire, Dutch 108 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Low-boy, Lacquered 110 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Double Chest of Drawers, or Chest- 

upon-chest. Mahogany 112 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Seventeenth Century Carved Oak 

Cupboard 114 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Court-Cupboard with Applied Orna- 
ments, Jacobean 116 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Shearer Sideboard, 1748 118 

Sheraton Sideboard and Sideboard 

Designed by Heppelwhite ... 120 

Seventeenth Century Spanish Cabi- 
net (varguenos) 122 

Seventeenth Century carved Ebony 

Secretary 124 



List of Illustrations 

Facing fagi 

Plate LX. Eighteenth Century Italian Carved 

and Gilt Cabinet on Stand . . . 126 


Eighteenth Century English Carved 
and Gilt Cabinet on Stand 

Plate LXI. Eighteenth Century English Painted 

Cabinet on Stand 128 

Plate LXIL Late Louis XV. Encoignure, or Cor- 
ner Cabinet 130 

Plate LXIIL Louis XV. Commode ^ signed L. 

Boudin 132 

Plate LXIV. Regency Bureau made for Louis XV. 134 

Plate LXV. Louis XV. Bureau-commode with 
Bronze-gilt Ornamentation and 
Leaf-shoes 136 

Chippendale Bureau-commode 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate LXVL Louis XVL Half-Moon Commode, 

made by L. Moreau 138 

Plate LXVIL Bureau of Marie de'Medici .... 140 

Cluny Museum. 

Plate LXVIIL Bureau by Riesener 142 

Wallace Gallery. 

Plate LXIX. Eighteenth Century American Desk 

and Bookcase 144 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate LXX. Louis XVL Secretary, Mahogany 

with Bronze-gilt Ornamentation 146 

Plate LXXL Empire Secretary 148 

Metropolitan Museum. 


List of Illustrations 

Facing page 
Dutch Renaissance Carved Oak Bed- 
stead with Painted Leather Ceil- 
ing (1650) 150 

Metropolitan Museum 

Early Seventeenth Century Bed- 
stead {Lit-en-housse) 152 

Corsini Palace, Florence. 

LXXIV. Bed of the Marechal d'Effiat ... 154 

Cluny Museum. 

LXXV. Eighteenth Century American Bed- 
stead 156 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Louis XVL Bedstead, Gilt Frame 
with Tapestry Panels and Cur- 
tains of White Silk 158 

LXXVIL Empire Bedstead 160 

Metropolitan Museum. 

LXXVIII. Sixteenth Century Italian Choir 

Stalls 162 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Sixteenth Century Flemish Arm- 
chairs 164 


Sixteenth Century Chairs, Flemish, 

Covered with Leather 166 

Cluny Museum. 

French, Carved Chairs 


Swiss Sgabello 
Metropolitan Museum, 

Italian Folding-chair 
Cluny Museum. 


Plate LXXIL 



Plate LXXVI 


Plate LXXIX. 

Plate LXXX. 

List of Illustrations 

Facing page 
Plate LXXXI. Seventeenth Century Italian Chairs 

and Sgabello 168 

Palazzo Mansi, Lucca. 

Plate LXXXII. Seventeenth Century Chairs, Flemish, 
Covered with Leather, "Spanish 
Foot;" Carved Oak or Wainscot 
Chair 170 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate LXXXIII. Corner Chair with Rush Seat and 
Spanish Foot; "Low-leather," 
Flemish, Carved Oak, 1670; 

Turned Chair 172 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate LXXXIV. Anglo-Dutch Crown-back Chair, Cab- 
riole-legs and Hoof-feet; Leather 
Chair with Spanish Feet ... 174 
Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate LXXXV. Anglo-Dutch Chairs and Double 

Chair, or Settee 176 

Plate LXXXVL Windsor Chairs ; Anglo-Dutch Chairs ; 
American "Colonial," Three Bar 
or Banister Back with Rush Seat 178 
Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate LXXXVIL Seventeenth Century Lit de Rfpos; 
Early Eighteenth Century Fold- 
ing-chair 180 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate LXXXVIIL Regency Arm-chair, Covered with 
Tapestry and Chaise Confes- 
sionale 184 

Metropolitan Museum 


List of Illustrations 

Plate LXXXIX. Louis XV. 5^rg^>^ Facing page 

Louis XV. Gondola Chairs with Cane 

Seats and Backs 186 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate XC. Louis XV. Bergere; Cane Chairs; Up- 

holstered Chairs and Arm-chair 188 
Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate XCL Louis XVL Chairs; Medallion Backs 

Covered withTapes try; Lyre-back 
Voyeuse; and Lyre-back Chair . 190 

Plate XCIL Louis XV. Canape^ Covered with 
Beauvais Tapestry; Louis XV. 
Arm-chair 192 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate XCIIL Eighteenth Century Ladder-back 

Chairs 194 

Plate XCIV. Chippendale Chairs 196 

Plate XCV. Chippendale Chairs 198 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate XCVL Chippendale Three-back Settee, 
Mahogany, Covered with Mort- 
lake Tapestry 200 

Plate XCVIL Chippendale Settee, Mahogany, Cov- 
ered with Needlework 202 

Plate XCVIIL Adam Chairs 204 

Plate XCIX. Heppelwhite Shield-back Chairs . . 206 

Plate C. Sheraton Four-back Settee, Cane-seat 208 

Plate CL Early Nineteenth Century Chairs . 210 

Metropolitan Museum. 


List of Illustrations 

Facing page 
Plate CII. Nineteenth Century Chairs by 

George Smith (1804-1810) ... 212 

Plate CIII. Trafalgar Chair and Chair by Dun- 

can Phyffe, owned by Mr. R. T. 
Haines Halsey, New York ... 214 

Plate CIV. Sixteenth Century Flemish Table, 

Table a rhentail (Sambin School) 216 

Plate CV. Gate-legged Table 218 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate CVI. Gate-legged Table and Oval Table . 220 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate CVII. BouUe Table 222 

Wallace Gallery. 

Plate CVIII. Sideboard-table, William and Mary 
Period; OakDining-table; Seven- 
teenth Century English Dressing- 
tables 224 

Plate CIX. Regency Console-table 226 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Louis XV. Console-table 


Plate CX. Louis XV. Lady's Tables, Marquetry 

of Colored Woods; Louis XV. 
Table with Panels of Lattice- 
work; Louis XV. Writing-table 

and Serre-papiers 228 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate CXL Chippendale Sideboard-table; Chip- 
pendale Pier-table 230 


List of Illustrations 

Facing page 
Plate CXII. Eighteenth Century Tables: Mahog- 
any Tea-table "Tip and Turn" 
with "Pie-crust" Edge; Mahog- 
any "Drop-leaf" Table; Chip- 
pendale Tea-table with Pierced 
Gallery; Chippendale Tea-table 
with Pierced Gallery 232 

Plate CXIII. Mahogany Card-table; Mahogany 
Writing-desk; Mahogany Dumb- 
waiter; Mahogany Spoon and 
Knife Boxes 234 

Plate CXIV. Heppelwhite Pembroke Table and 

Empire Console-table 236 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate CXV. Sixteenth Century Italian Mirror . 240 

Cluny Museum. 

Plate CXVI. Chippendale Gilt Mirror Frames; 
Chippendale Walnut and Gilt 
Frame; American Gilt Frame 
Mirror (1800-1825) 244 

Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate CXVII. Louis XIV. Screen, Gilt Frame and 

Tapestry 248 

Cluny Museum. 

Louis XV. Screen, Gilt Frame and 
Tapestry; Pole-screen, Mahog- 
any and Needlework 
Metropolitan Museum. 

Plate CXVIIL Chippendale Clock 250 

Plate CXIX. Boulle Clock and Pedestal, late 

Louis XIV. to Regency . . . 252 
Wallace Gallery. 



1. Egyptian Chairs 2 

2. Greek Chairs, Tables and Stools 2 

3. Roman Couch of Bronze 3 

4. Chair of St. Peter, Rome 4 

5. Carved Oak Seat with Movable Back-rest, Fifteenth 

Century 6 

6. Prie-Dieu Chair, Fifteenth Century 9 

7. Spanish Chair, Wood and Ivory Inlaid, about 1500 11 

8. German Table, about 1500 15 

9. English Carved Oak Bedstead, Sixteenth Century . 24 

10. Venetian Chair, 1500, and Flemish Chair by De 

Vries, 1560 27 

11. Bed by Abraham Bosse 29 

12. Chair-table, Seventeenth Century 35 

13. Canape Confident, by Radel, 1765 57 

14. Louis XV. Bedstead 60 

15. Chippendale Chair-back, by Chippendale, 1754 . . 64 

16. Chippendale Chair-back, by Chippendale, 1754 . . 67 

17. Sofa by Lalonde 71 

18. Pole-screen by Adam 75 

19. Sheraton Chair-back 79 

20. Directoire Chair, 1793 . 81 

21. Empire Sofa 84 

22. American Fancy Chair, 1810 85 


Text Cuts 


23. Mendienne, 1820 89 

24. Dressing-room Commode, 1826 93 

25. French Z^r^jjoiV, Fifteenth Century 110 

26. Egyptian Couches 149 

27. Greek Bedstead 150 

28. Anglo-Saxon Beds, Tenth Century 151 

29. Iron Bedstead, Tenth Century 152 

30. Bed of the Twelfth Century 153 

31. Lit de Camp by Radel, 1765 162 

32. Lit a TomheaUj Louis XV 163 

Z3. Heppelwhite Bed, 1788 165 

34. Lit a Tulipe, Empire Style 169 

35. Bed by Sheraton, 1803 170 

36. Sofa Bed, Empire Style 172 

37. Assyrian Seats 174 

38. Ebony Seat Inlaid with Ivory, and Folding-stool, 

Egyptian 175 

39. Roman Chair and Stool 177 

40. Carved Wood Chair, Scandinavian, Twelfth to Thir- 

teenth Century 179 

41. English Chair, Fifteenth Century 181 

42. Fifteenth Century Chair 183 

43. Flemish Low Leather Chair, Chaise Caquetoire, Seven- 

teenth Century 186 

44. German Chair-back, 1750 193 

45. Fauteuil de Bureau^ by Lalonde 194 

46. Voyelle from Fontainebleau 196 

47. Chippendale Chair-back, 1754 197 

48. Chippendale Chair-back, 1754 198 

49. Chippendale Chair-back, 1754 198 


Text Cuts 


50. Chippendale Chair-back, 1754 200 

51. Directoire Chair, 1796 207 

52. Easy-chair with Adjustable Back, by Smith .... 209 

53. Chaise a Volutes, Restoration Period 210 

54. Vis-d-viSj or Siamoise, by Lalonde 211 

55. Fauteuil a Voltaire 212 

56. Causeuse, 1840 212 

57. Chaise confortable," Spanischery** 1S53 213 

58. Confident a trois places, or Siamoise 213 

59. Pouf 214 

60. Fauteuil a Coiffer, 1850 214 

61. French Chair, 1850 214 

62. Chaise Confortable, by DevIUiers, 1838 215 

63. Roman Table 216 

64. Greek Table 216 

65. Anglo-Saxon Table 217 

66. German Table, Fifteenth Century 218 

67. Cornice for Window Drapery, by Adam 245 

68. Chippendale Pole-screen 250 



The Egyptian Style; the Greek Style; the Roman Style; the By- 
2 ;^NTiNE Style ; the RoMANEsg uE Style; the Gothic Style; Louis 
Xil. Style; IIenri II. Style; the English R enaissanc e: the 
Flemish Renaissance; the Spanish Renaissance; Louis XIII. Style; 
the Rubens Style; ire Genre AuriculairE; the Jacobean Period; 
Oriental Influences; Louis XIV. Style; Regency ^yle; the 
Style Repugie; the Queen^Anije Style; the Anglo-Dutch Style; 
Louis XV. Style; the Chippendale Style; Louis XVL Style; the 
Adam Style; the Heppexwhixe Style; Thomas Shearer; the Sher- 
AXOJS Style; the Directoire Style; the Empole Style; the Nine- 
teenth Century Styles. 

The Egyptian Style 

THE Egyptian style had a great deal of influence 
on Greek and Etruscan Art. Though the house- 
hold furniture of the Egyptians was somewhat 
limited, the cabinet-makers produced beautiful inlaid work 
at a very early period. Egypt was poor in timber, and 
therefore cedar and other woods were imported and ebony 
and ivory were procured from Ethiopia and Mesopotamia. 
Human and animal forms, as well as floral devices, were 
used for the decoration of furniture, which was adorned 
with brilliant color designs. The wood was sometimes gilded 
and sometimes inlaid with precious metals, stones and colored 

" For furniture, various woods were employed, ebony, 


acacia or sont, cedar, sycamore, and others of species not 
determined. Ivory, both of hippopotamus and elephant, was 
used for inlaying, as also were glass pastes; and specimens 
of marquetry are not uncommon. In the paintings in the 
tombs, gorgeous pictures and gilded furniture are depicted. 
For cushions and mattresses, linen 
cloth and colored stufifs, filled with 
feathers of the waterfowl, appear to 
have been used, while seats have plaited 
bottoms of linen cord or tanned and 
EGYPTIAN cHAms ^X^^ Icathcr thrown over them, and 
sometimes the skins of panthers served 
this purpose. For carpets they used mats of palm fibre, on 
which they often sat. On the whole, an Egyptian house was 
lightly furnished, and not encumbered with so many articles 
as are in use at the present day." ^ 

The Greek Style 

The Greek Style was of Asiatic origin, but soon freed 
itself from the early, stiff hieratic forms. The richness of 
Oriental color remained in the textiles and furniture; and 
Greek form and ornament formed the principal inspiration 
for many later styles. Wood was used for household furni- 
ture; and the surfaces of the luxurious ob- 
jects were variously ornamented with de- 
signs of animal groups, mythological scenes 
and floral devices, carved, painted and 
gilded. The wooden furniture of the 
Greeks has all perished and only the bronze greek chaiks 
tables, tripods, chairs and beds remain. ™^' ^ ^^" 

The characteristic motives of Greek ornament are the 
fret, zigzag, wave-scroll, echinus (called also the horse- 

1 Dr. Birch. 

Styles and Schools 

chestnut, or egg-and-tongue), guilloche, patera (or rosette) 
and anthemion (or honeysuckle). The Greeks also used the 
sphynx, griffin, triton and chimsera in decoration ; but these 
mythological animals occur far more frequently in Roman 

Greek influence began to be felt in Rome in the Third Cen- 
tury B. C. Etruscan Art had dominated there up to that 

The Roman Style 

Roman furniture was exceedingly costly and decorative. 
Marble, gold, silver and bronze were used as well as woods. 
Furniture was enriched by damascened 
work and inlaid with ivory, metal and 
sometimes even precious stones. Like 
the Assyrians, Eg^yptians and Greeks, 


the Romans carved the arms and legs 
of chairs, tables and couches to represent the legs and feet 
of animals. Maple, beech, holly, olive, cedar, pine, ash and 
elm were the chosen woods, and cheaper woods were ve- 
neered with costly woods for the sake of the decorative 
effect . One of the luxuries of the day was a wood called 
thyine, 2l kind of aloe that grew in Africa, and which was 
valued for its beauty, hardness, sweet odor, and, not least, 
for the good luck it was supposed to bring. Thyine was 
used by the priests for incense, and the Arabs held it in 
such high estimation that they made the ceiling and floor of 
the famous Mosque of Cordova of this precious wood. 
Pliny speaks of the mania for this kind of wood, and says 
when husbands scolded their wives for their extravagance 
in pearls, the latter charged them with their extravagance for 
tables of thyine wood. Cicero had one of these tables that 
cost a million sesterces (about $45,000). 




■^0p '0-0 


The Byzantine Style 

The style known as Byzantine is a development of the early 
classic Greek mixed with Roman and Oriental influences. It 
developed in Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Em- 
pire. Rich furniture adorned the homes of the great. It is 
worth noting that the old custom of reclining at meals ceased 
and people sat on benches. Ivory entered largely in the deco- 
ration of furniture, and beautiful tapestries and cushions were 
plentiful. The most remarkable relic of the Byzantine period 
^^^^ is the famous chair of St. Peter, which 
authorities agree is genuine. It is now 
preserved in St. Peter's Church in Rome, 
but is entirely covered with a bronze cas- 
ing, made by Bernini in 1667 from bronze 
taken from the Pantheon. According to 
tradition this relic belonged to Senator 
Pudens, an early convert to Christianity, 
CHAIR OP ST. PETER ^j^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^j^^ Church his house in 

Rome over which now stands the Church of St. Puden- 
ziana. The chair was given by Pudens to St. Peter, and it 
became the throne of the See. It is square, with solid front 
and arms. The square front is thirty-nine inches wide and 
thirty inches high, and is embellished with eighteen groups 
taken from the Gospels, beautifully carved in ivory and inlaid 
with pure gold. The chair itself is made of wood, overlaid 
with carved ivory and gold, and bound together with iron. 

The Romanesque Style 

The Romanesque {style Roman), which prevailed in 
Europe during the Dark Ages, stands between the Byzantine 
and the Gothic Style. Beginning in the Fifth Century, it 


Styles and Schools 

dominated architecture and the Decorative Arts till the 
Twelfth Century. During this period and until the Renais- 
sance, furniture was architectural in form and decoration. 
The panels were carved or painted with arca.des of round 
arches, and the spaces were filled with saintly figures and 
monsters. Geometrical figures were also largely used in 
the ornamentation. The characteristic details of the mar- 
quetry of this style are the star, saw-tooth, checker, billet, 
overlapping lozenges, battlement mouldings and diamond 

The Gothic Style 

The furniture of the Middle Ages was constructed of solid 
oak, consisting of massive planks and wide panels left bare 
to be decorated with painting, stamped leather, or lightly cut 
ornaments. Gradually the carving developed and became 
more important in company with the changes of sculptured 
ornament in Gothic architecture. Under the luxurious Dukes 
of Burgundy, Flemish taste prevailed both in England and 
France during the Fifteenth Century. This taste was char- 
acterized by naturalism of form and face, expressive attitude 
and a tendency to satire and caricature. 

" The complete development of Gothic architecture, and 
the pieces of furniture inspired by the same taste are divided 
into flamboyant Gothic arcades, and crowned by fine needle- 
shaped crockets and floriated croziers; their niches contain 
elegantly quaint figures and the panels with their bas-reliefs 
rival in perfection the retables (altar-pieces) and triptychs of 
intricate workmanship." ^ 

A glance at the carved furniture of this period shows that 
the motives of decoration consisted of human and animal 
figures, foliage and plate-tracery and bar-tracery. In the 

^ Jacquemaxt. 



Fifteenth Century the tracery was largely supplanted by the 
" linen- fold," which became exceedingly popular in Germany, 
France, Flanders and England. The panels of German work 
on Plate III. and Plate VII. show two elaborate examples of 
this motive which was banished by the Renaissance. A third 
example on Plate VIII. shows this design on a French 
credence or buffet of the same period. 

During the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries the forms of 
furniture were few. Perhaps the most important was the 
chest, huche, or hahut, in which money, clothes, linen, tapes- 
tries and valuables were preserved 
and transported from place to place. 
Next came the bedstead; then the 
chair, for the master of the house; 
then the high-backed benches and 
CARVED OAK SEAT WITH MovA- stools {cscaheaux) \ thcu the cre- 
B^^BACK. FiPTEENTH CEN- ^^^^^ (buffct) ] aud, finally, the 

dressoir, with its shelves on which 
cloths were laid and plate displayed. 

Furniture changed very little during the next two cen- 
turies. More luxurious fabrics were brought home by the 
Crusaders; and the cushions, carpets and hangings became 
richer and more plentiful. Carving progressed and the 
style of marquetry known as alia certosa was introduced 
from Italy. 

A great number of little pieces of furniture, such as 
caskets, coffers, echiquiers (chessboards) incrusted or mar- 
quete with ivory appear in the inventories of the Fourteenth 
Century, generally under the name of Voeuvre de Damas. 
Undoubtedly the Crusaders brought them from the East, 
and the inlay frequently consists of verses from the Koran 
(lettres sardines). In Europe, and especially in France, 
these wares were soon imitated. 

Italian furniture during the Fifteenth Century was nota- 


Styles and Schools 

ble for its bright color; painting and marquetry were its 
chief characteristics. During the Renaissance furniture bor- 
rowed its forms and strong rehefs from sculpture, and for 
the flat forms, which showed off the purity of profile and 
harmony of colors, forms of furniture were substituted that 
looked well with imposing architecture. Each piece of furni- 
ture presented veritable bas-reliefs often much contorted, 
whose magnificent and sumptuous effect was increased still 
more by being ornamented with gold or covered entirely 
with gold. 

Leather was extensively used during the Middle Ages for 
furnishing: it was hung upon the walls and beds, spread 
upon the floors, and was used to cover the seats and backs of 
chairs, coffers, and all kinds of boxes. In 1420, we hear of 
a piece of Cordovan called cuirace vermeil " to put on the 
floor around a bed," and also a " chamber hanging " of 
" silvered cuir de moiitoii, ornamented with red figures." 
Charles V. of France had " fifteen cuirs d'Arragon to put 
on the floor in summer," and the Duke of Burgundy's in- 
ventory of 1427 mentions " leathers to spread in the chamber 
in summer time." 

The floral and other patterns and figures were gilded and 
stood out from grounds of bright colors. Though the use of 
gilded leather (cuirs dores) did not become general until the 
Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, the art of gilding, sil- 
vering, painting and goffering leather had long been known. 
Cordova was making beautiful gilded leathers in the Eleventh 
Century. The most beautiful leathers came from Spain, 
where they were called Guadameciles, from Ghadames in 
Africa from which town the Moors carried the industry to 

From Cordova the manufacture spread into Portugal, 
Italy, France and Brabant. The great centres for gilded 
leathers in the Middle Ages were Cordova, Lisbon, Lille, 



Brussels, Liege, Antwerp, Mechlin and Venice. The Portu- 
guese leathers were made of sheepskin, and became very 
famous. These were imitated by the Flemings who used calf- 
skin with less success. The subjects of decoration of early 
leathers are taken from sacred or mythological stories. The 
details of the faces, ornaments, costumes, arms, etc., are 
stamped by hand work and finished with a brush; and the 
background is ornamented by guilloches (twisted bands) in 
gold and color, applied by means of a goffering iron. 

Beautiful Cordovan leather covers the chair on Plate XIX. 

Little study has yet been given to the arts in Spain during 
the Middle Ages ; and although wood-carving was in a very 
flourishing condition, being largely used in the decoration 
of the Mauresque buildings, yet examples of Spanish fur- 
niture of the period are extremely rare. It has been suggested 
that this may be explained by the Oriental influence over the 
greater part of the peninsula which reduced furniture to the 
mere necessaries, — chests, cushions, carpets and hangings. 
The Gothic work produced by the native craftsmen belongs 
principally to what might be called the international style of 
the Fifteenth Century. It is believed that there must still 
exist in Spain a good deal of carved furniture of that period 
which in construction and ornamentation resembles the work 
of the French and Flemish experts of that day. 

''In the Fifteenth Century, the bedchamber is thus rep- 
resented: the curtained bedstead, with corniced tester, dis- 
played its costly coverlets ; on one side was the master's chair, 
then the devotional picture or small domestic altar attached 
to the wall. The dressoir and other small pieces of furniture 
were to be seen ranged round the apartment and often in 
front of the immense fireplace was a high-backed seat where 
the inmates came to seek warmth. This arrangement which 
is seen in miniatures and tapestries taken from various 
sources, proves the uniformity of habits in the different 


Styles and Schools 

classes of society. Here we find personages whose dress 
and elegance denote their high position ; here again are plain 
citizens surrounded by their serving-men, and by a number 
of objects which allow us to judge that the apartment is at 
once the bedchamber, reception-room, and refectory of the 

" If we enter the study of the statesman or of the writer, 
we find the high-chair, or faldistoire, with its monumental 
back, the revolving-desk called a ' wheel,' used 
to keep a certain number of books within 
reach, lecterns and various other sorts of 
desks for writing." ^ 

Gothic furniture dating before 1400 A. D. 
is exceeding-ly scarce: even the most famous 

f / , , . . , • r 1 PRIE-DIEU CHAIR, 

museums thmk themselves fortunate if they fifteenth 
possess one or two examples. Plate I. repre- ^ntury 
sents a celebrated chest of Lorraine workmanship, now in 
the Cluny Museum. It was made about 1300 A. D., and is re- 
garded as one of the finest specimens of the art of the period. 
Over the front are carved twelve fully arnied warriors in 
Gothic niches, the spaces between being occupied by grotesque 
faces and chimerical animals. The panels on the ends of the 
chest are also richly carved. The left one contains an oak 
tree with fantastic birds on its branches and on the ground. 
The right panel is carved with a body of cavalry on the march. 
The back of the chest is ornamented with four groups of 
workmen, warriors, porters, and falconers. On the lid are 
twelve medallions separated by chimerical animals: they 
are framed with foliage and animals of the chase picked out 
with painting. The principal medallions are filled with love 
scenes, men fighting and tilting, musicians and jongleurs, 
all carved with great spirit and humor. 

Another famous Gothic chest, also in the Cluny Museum, 

^ Jacquemart. 



is reproduced on Plate 11. The carving on the front repre- 
sents a tournament scene of the first half of the Fifteenth 
Century, and is interesting as a record of the costume and 
armor of the period. 

Germany is richer in Gothic furniture that has survived 
than either England or France. Several museums and 
castles have fine collections of Mediaeval woodwork. The 
cupboard, or wardrobe, shown on Plate VII. is an excellent 
example of the late Gothic art. It is in the Nuremberg 
Museum. The figures of Peter and Paul in the top panels 
are in the style of Peter Visscher, the great Nuremberg 
sculptor (1460- 1 529). 

The splendid carved bench or settle (Plate III.) in the 
same museum belongs to the same period. It is a fine type 
of the seat of honor that was found in every great baronial 
hall. When complete, it had a step, or foot-board, a dais, or 
canopy, and cushions. 

Another treasure of the Nuremberg Museum is the half- 
headed Gothic bed (Plate V.) with its panels of flamboyant 
plate and thistle design. 

The richly carved Gothic press, or Schra^k (Plate VI.), 
also in the Nuremberg Museum, came from Bterzing in the 
Tyrol : it was made about 1 500 A, D. This type of wardrobe 
was common all over Germany in wealthy nomes where the 
mistress used it for fine linen and plate ; and in the sacristy, 
where it was used for storing ecclesiastical paraphernalia. 

A very ordinary form of Gothic bed is one in the Munich 
Museum, reproduced on Plate IV. As a rule, it was fixed 
to the paneling of the room and carved in the same style. 

" The real certosino originated in Venice and was an 
Oriental imitation; from the Thirteenth Century to the 
end of the Fourteenth the incrustations were in black and 
white wood, sometimes enriched with ivory; it was not 
until later that the number of colored woods was increased, 






Styles and Schools 

and that ivory was used with its natural tint or stained 
green; sometimes small metallic plaques were added to the 
work. These primitive labors are almost always of small 
dimensions, consisting of boxes and jewel-caskets of rather 
hasty make. When the inlaid work is applied to furniture 
it is at first with a certain reserve ; a chest (bahut) belonging 
to M. Henri Cernuschi is simply ornamented with fillets 
round its circumference, and on each side by a circle formed 
of small bone lozenges incrusted in the brown wood. This 
chest dates from the Fifteenth Century. 
Later on come the cassoni, the cabinets, 
the folding-tables, the seats shaped in the 
form of an X, and even elegantly carved 
high-backed chairs in which colored 
woods combined with ivory form geo- 
metrical designs of great richness ; often 
in circular medallions, or in the middle 
of panels, a vase appears, whence issue Spanish chair,"^ood 
flowered stems, which rise upwards, l^oux^Tsii inlaid, 
spreading out like a bouquet of fire- 
works. '^ Nearly all the furniture in pique alia certosa comes 
from Italy; but some may be met with, among the most 
striking of which have been made in Portugal; these are 
generally to be recognized by the plentiful appliances of 
pierced copper that ornament them. The cabinets have 
complicated corners and keyholes which the gilding ren- 
ders peculiarly brilliant. 

" The word tarsia, or intarsia, was used in Italy to desig- 
nate all incrustations or marquetry either in wood or any 
other material on a background of wood, but, strictly speak- 
ing, it should only be employed when the pictures represent 
landscapes, still life, architecture or other scenes, while the 
word certosino is used to describe marquetry composed of 
very minute fragments put together in geometrical patterns. 



" Taken in its literal sense, certosino describes work made 
by the disciples of St. Bruno — the Carthusians — mosaic 
work of the most delicate description in bone, ivory, mother- 
of-pearl, metal, or woods chemically colored, and showing 
the greatest amount of patience though rarely in any save 
geometrical designs. Tarsia, on the other hand, rendered 
by means of chemically colored woods pictures which the 
mosaic-worker either copied or originated. The decorations 
of the armoires in the sacristy of the Duomo in Florence are 
evidently original with the artist who ornamented them. 
These mosaics were found to be very perishable : tarsia was 
costly and difficult to execute, and the atmospheric changes 
were very harmful. It was necessary to restore fine pieces 
frequently ; so frequently, indeed, that little was left of the 
original ornamentation. Therefore at the end of the Fif- 
teenth and beginning of the Sixteenth Century this style of 
decoration was supplanted by painting. The beautiful work 
in the sacristy of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, attrib- 
uted to Bernardino Luini, showed that painted panels were 
superior to those of marquetry. It was now but a step to 
those beautifully painted little caskets and coffers with deli- 
cate paintings on a gold background. 

" Furniture was exquisitely painted during the Sixteenth 
Century. By 1550 tarsia- work had taken a subordinate 
place. Italian furniture of the first period of the Renais- 
sance was conceived by painters and made by workmen who 
followed their designs. Very often they misunderstood the 
special purpose for which the special piece was intended. 
In this the French huchier was supreme: he never mis- 
understood the purpose for which any piece was intended — 
form and decoration had to be subordinate to the function 
and destination of every piece of furniture that he made." ^ 

A beautiful example of inlaid work of the period ap- 
* Molinier. 


Plate III 

Gothic Settle 
Nuremberg Museum 

: ' , f , < 

c c f t c c 

Styles and Schools 

pears on Plate X., representing a bed that belonged to the 
Princess Palatine, Susanna, and to which the date 1530 
is attributed by the authorities of the Munich Museum, 
where it is preserved. It is probably of Italian workmanship. 

In the Sixteenth, as in the preceding century, the Italians 
were particularly fond of the Roman triumphal arch and 
sarcophagus, as forms for furniture. The Classic Orders 
were in great vogue, and the arabesque and candelabra- 
shaped pilasters, introduced so long ago into decoration, were 
renewed and made popular by Raphael. To the ancient style 
of marquetry, composed of little geometrically-cut cubes of 
natural wood, there succeeded a marquetry of colored woods 
arranged to form actual pictures with perspective. Some 
of the furniture was carved, and then painted, or gilded; 
but other furniture shows large surfaces that are decorated 
with beautiful oil paintings. 

The Italian furniture was particularly da pompa, made 
for the adornment of long galleries, enriched with paintings, 
gildings, tapestries, velvets, damasks, brocades, cushions, 
curtains, mirrors and sumptuous cassoni. Beds, chairs, 
tables, cabinets, mirror and picture frames, standing can- 
delabra, bellows, coffers, chests, seats and buffets (cre- 
denza), are of the most luxurious nature. /Plate XL shows 
a good example of an Italian chest of the period. To this 
period belonged the famous nuptial set in the Borgherini 
Palace, Florence. 

When Salvi Borgherini's son, Pier Francesco, was be- 
trothed to Margherita Acciajuoli, Salvi resolved to prepare 
for them a beautiful nuptial chamber decorated entirely by 
the first artists of the time. Baccio d'Agnolo carved all 
the ornaments of the doors and the bed and mantelpiece and 
made the superb furniture that consisted of high-backed 
chairs (spalliere), stools and seats (sederi), and coffers 
(cassoni), all of which were enriched with delicate carving. 



But this was not all: the entire room was decorated with 
panels painted by such artists as Andrea del Sarto, Francesco 
Granacci, Jacopo da Pontormo and Bacchiacca, the subject 
being the story of Joseph. The wedding is supposed to have 
taken place in 1523. The beautiful bridal chamber excited 
the greatest admiration. 

During the eight months' siege of Florence in 1527, a 
furniture-dealer named Giovanbattista della Palla, employed 
by Frangois I., King of France, to secure for him whatever 
art treasures he could find, appeared before the Signory and 
suggested that the pictures and furniture of the Borgherini 
chamber should be purchased and presented by the city of 
Florence to Frangois I. Consent was given, and the wily 
furniture-dealer, knowing that Salvi Borgherini had recently 
died and that Pier Francesco was in Lucca, hurried to the 

" Much to his surprise, however, he was confronted on 
the threshold of the bride-chamber by Margherita Acciajuoli 
herself, a valiant lady, worthy to be the wife and daughter 
of noble Florentine citizens, who at once assailed him with 
a torrent of violent reproaches. * You, Giovanbattista? ' she 
exclaimed, *you! vile broker, paltry twopenny shopkeeper! 
you dare to come and seize the ornaments of gentlemen's 
rooms and spoil this city of its richest and noblest things, 
and all to embellish foreign countries and the homes of our 
enemies ? I do not wonder at you, plebeian that you are, and 
enemy of your country, but I am surprised at the magis- 
trates of this city who allow your abominable wickedness. 
This bed which you seek to satisfy your own greed of gain, 
however much you may endeavor to conceal your evil in- 
tentions under the cloak of duty, is my own marriage bed. 
It was in honor of my nuptials that my father-in-law, Salvi, 
prepared all this magnificent and royal furniture, dear to 
me both for the sake of his memory and for the love I bear 


Plate IV 

Gothic Bedstead 
Munich Museum 

Styles and Schools 

my husband, and which I intend to defend with the last 
drop of my blood. Get out of this house, then, with all 
your troop, Giovanbattista ! Go and tell those who sent you 
that I will not suffer a single thing to be removed froni this 
place; and if those who trust you, contemptible man, wish 
to send gifts to the King of France, let them go and spoil 
their own houses and the ornaments and beds of their own 
chambers! Go! and if ever you dare to show your face 
again in this house I will teach you, to your cost, the respect 
which the like of you owe to the houses of gentlemen/ " 

Margherita Acciajuoli kept her treasures; but in the 
course of time they were dispersed. Andrea's and 
Pontormo's panels were preserved, and are now in the 
Pitti and Uffizi galleries. All the rest were lost. 
,- In the Sixteenth Century furni- 
ture more like that in use in our own 
day became more general ; but much 
of it is often described as " camp 
furniture.*' Everything was made 

to take apart : the columns of the merman table, about 1500 
beds were jointed; the tables were 

slabs placed on trestles ; the chairs folded up ; and curtains 
were hung on poles with rings. Rugs, cushions and superb 
tapestries soon turned a temporary lodging into a luxurious 
and beautiful abode. Chests and bahnts were still of the 
greatest importance. Towards the end of this century, fur- 
niture became more abundant ; and though much of it was 
" movable," much of it was made for its one permanent 

Louis XII. Style 

The dawn of the Renaissance in France is known as the 
Louis XII. Style. It was the transitional period following 
the Italian expedition of Charles VIII. in 1497. The furni- 



ture becomes Classic in form, and the antique column again 
finds its place in the decoration, but the pilaster is preferred 
on account of its flat face being so well adapted for the carved 
arabesques so characteristic of this period. The detail is 
principally floral, human and animal forms being unimportant 
and expressionless. The furniture of Louis XII. and 
Frangois I. was not altogether derived from the Italian 
furniture. The style of the ornamentation was Italian ; but 
its architecture remained purely French until the middle of 
the 'Sixteenth Century and, in some provinces, even later. 

" The Renaissance of the Sixteenth Century is divided into 
two distinct periods, those of Frangois I. and Henri 11. 
The first is exuberant, bloated and prodigal. The second is 
more restrained, more linear, more geometrical, and more 
severe. The characteristic impression produced by the works 
of the Renaissance Style is that of vast wealth of varied fancy 
in the decorative motives and in the swarm of their details. 
Every piece of furniture is a whole world in which swarm 
real or fantastic beings mingled with garlands of flowers and 
fruits. It is the spectacle of a fat fecundity, better nourished 
than the style of the preceding period. Gothic carving was 
all on the same plane; its richness was more geometrical. 
In the Renaissance Style, the planes are innumerable. The 
nudity of its ridges and lines disappears. Supports, panels, 
cornices and frontons are all covered with ornamental de- 
tails grouped into episodes, each of which has its own 
life and centre of action. 

" The special characteristic of the style is the monumental 
fagade of most of the pieces of furniture. They are Roman 
temples with Orders of architecture one above another: 
the Doric below, the Ionic in the middle, and the Corinthian 
on top. The whole is surmounted by a pediment, the apex of 
which is cut out, and in the hollow is placed a bust, or vase, 
or statuette. In the panels of the intercolumniations and 


, ' ' ' > 

Plate V 
Gothic Bedstead 

Nuremberg Museum 

Styles and Schools 

in the uprights are niches, framed in an architectural motive 
which shelter figures of antique heroes or divinites. Some- 
times there are round medallions, like windows, from which 
protrude curious heads with outstretched necks. 

" The most frequent motives of decoration of this style* 
are Classic columns, pediments, broken pediments, heads in 
hollows, termed figures, garlands, pagan divinities, antique 
heroes, initial letters cut out and tied with strings of foliage, 
caryatides, grotesque faces, the F. of Francois I. and the 
salamander, his attributes. In the painted or carved ara- 
besques are mingled the animal and vegetable worlds ; imagi- 
nary beings, half -animal, half -vegetable, are entwined with 
garlands and foliage. 

Henri II. Style 

" The Style Henri II . is more severe and geometrical than 
that of Frangois I. The ornamentation of the projections 
shows more restraint, and the general shape of the object is 
more rectangular. The vertical dominates the horizontal. 
Columns with long shafts finely fluted take the place of 
the human fibres that acted as supports in the preceding 
period." ^ 

The grand lit a baldaquin of the period of Frangois I., 
reproduced on Plate XIIL, is one of the treasures of the 
Cluny Museum. It was carved by French artists, and is 
greatly admired for the elegance of the details of its 
decoration. The baldachin is supported in front by col- 
umns, and at the back by figures of Victory and Mars. 
The ornamentation of the headboard is elaborate, consisting 
of a ducal crown, fruits, mascarons, rosettes and dolphins. 
The hangings and coverings are of later date than the bed, 
having belonged to Pierre de Gondi, Bishop of Paris. 

^ P. Rouaix. 


A handsome armoire made in the He de France in the 
middle of the Sixteenth Century, reproduced on Plate XIV., 
is of unusual construction. The lower part is open: the 
upper part consists of cupboards and drawers. The central 
door is decorated with a figure of Hebe in a medallion sur- 
mounted by genii. The side doors have niches containing 

For the characteristics of the furniture of the second 
half of the Seventeenth Century there is no higher authority 
than M. Bonnaffe, who says : 

" With Charles IX. and Henri III. the type still remains 
excellent, but is richer and more effective. The carving is 
abundant, the mouldings graved, the ornaments strapped, 
and the reliefs are more strongly accented. It is the reign 
of caryatides, terms, satyrs and chimseras which the artists 
multiply with inexhaustible imagination. Du Cerceau de- 
signs for the workshops new arrangements and combina- 
tions which are sometimes singular, but always of great 
ingenuity. Gilding and silvering were lavishly employed. 
A contemporary says that people wanted all their furniture 
to be gilded, silvered and inlaid. 

" Checked by the civil and religious wars, the furniture 
industry revived under Henri IV. The designs are some- 
what heavy and overloaded, but still of grand appearance 
and fine execution. The over-long columns, joined or sur- 
rounded by foliage and rising as high as the cornice, the 
panels adorned with cavaliers, the moustached terms, and 
the inlays of fine copper thread and mother-of-pearl belong 
to this period." 

The greatest name of this period is that of Androuet Du 
£erceau, who was born about 1510 and who travelled when 
young into Italy, where he fell under the influence of Bra- 
mante. On his return home, he issued designs that were 
practically taken from that architect. His idea was to make 


i ' J > 

Plate VI 

Gothic Press from the Tyrol (about 1500) 
Nuremberg Museum 

Styles and Schools 

popular in France the forms and designs of Italian art. 
Among the engravings that he published was an album con- 
taining seventy-one designs for furniture, including twenty- 
one cabinets or dressoirs, twenty-four tables, eight beds, a 
choir-stall, two brackets, a panel, an overmantel, three termi- 
nals and eight socles or pedestals. 

" The complicated prodigality of lines and ornaments in 
these designs is perfectly astonishing," a modern observer 
remarks, " and arouses a doubt as to whether it would be 
possible to reproduce them exactly; but this was evidently 
not the intention of the author, as proved by the works exe- 
cuted during and after his time. All he wished was that his 
book should be, so to speak, a mine of ideas, from which 
craftsmen might borrow architectural combinations and 
decorative motives, to be arranged according to their own 
individual taste. Hence the overloading of every engraving 
with superfluous detail, which no one, we should imagine, 
would be so unreasonable as to attempt to copy servilely." ^ 

The French readily assimilated the new Italian ideas 
and soon formed schools of their own. The most famous of 
these is the Burgundian, which was largely indebted to the 
work of Hughes Sambin, an architect and master carpenter, 
who was~a5out ten years younger than Du Cerceau and who 
died in 1602. He studied under Michael Angelo and pub- 
lished between his architectural works an album of designs 
for caryatides and made and superintended the construction 
of a number of pieces of furniture. 

" In these minor works the Burgundian artist gave proof 
of a very prolific and powerful imagination. He lavished 
carvings of figures, fruit and foliage on the surface of the 
wood with a view to giving a general impression of richness, 
whilst Du Cerceau gave more attention to grace of line, 
and relied for effect chiefly upon the wealth of beautiful but 

* Andr6 Saglio. 


often minute detail. The former delighted in carving lions' 
heads, eagles with mighty wings, voluptuous women and 
muscular satyrs with merry faces. The latter was a fervent 
admirer of the long-limbed, elegant-looking goddesses which 
Jean Goujon borrowed from the Italian artists who worked 
at Fontainebleau, and which became widely popular through 
the work of the school that took its name from this favorite 
residence of Frangois I. and Henri II." ^ 

De Champeaux says : ** It is the taste for caryatides and 
grotesque figures surrounded by garlands, and supporting 
broken pediments that predominate in all his compositions. 
The result is a certain character of heaviness and hizarrerie 
that is more conspicuous in the buildings contributed by him 
than in his furniture, for the material of the latter, less cold 
than stone, allows more scope to the original fantasy of the 
artist. The furniture inspired by Sambin's designs does not 
exhibit the ponderous grace of the armoires and buffets made 
in Paris; the lines are not traced with the same tasteful 
harmony; but it must be recognized that no school equals 
the vigor and the dramatic expression of the Burgundian 
artists of this period. The figures of the caryatides and 
chimerical animals that support the various parts of their 
furniture and conceal the uprights, are animated with a 
brutal energy that only skilful chisels can create. More- 
over, the walnut wood of which they are carved has been 
clothed with a warm tone that sometimes equals that of 
Florentine bronzes." 

Another cabinet-maker of the period was Nicholas 
Bachelier, who was also an architect, engineer, sculptor and 
designer of furniture. 

The carved wood chair on Plate XV. shows that this form 
of the high-backed chair of honor of the Middle Ages con- 
tinued in favor during the Renaissance. Apart from the 

* Andr6 Saglio. 

»: > '. » » 

Plate VII 

Gothic Cupboard with Linenfold Panels 
Nuremberg Museum 

Styles and Schools 

motives used for the decoration, the only development no- 
ticeable is the breaking up of the sides and arms of the seat 
into legs and posts. The smooth columns and plain bulb 
feet are a welcome relief from the riot of carving of much 
contemporary work. This chair was superseded by others 
of lighter form before the close of the Seventeenth Century. 

The Jesuit Style 

At this period, too, what is familiarly known as the " Jesuit 
Style '' makes its appearance. In 1603, the Jesuits, who 
had been expelled from France in 1595, were recalled, and 
on their return began to build colleges and churches. Their 
leader, fetienne Martellange, of Lyons, who had studied 
architecture in Rome, inaugurated the pseudo-classic Roman 
style in building and in designs for furniture, but the more 
popular designation of " Jesuit " is usually given to it. 
Lyons was a great centre for fine carving and beautiful 
furniture, and, like Burgundy, was a rival of Paris as 
regards this art. 

The Spanish Renaissance 

The great wave of the Renaissance flowed into Spain, but 
it was carried thither not by Italian artists but across the 
Pyrenees by the French and Flemish painters, carvers and 
weavers. The political relations between Spain and the 
Low Countries account for the great horde of Flemish 
workers that flocked to the country where there was vast 
wealth. Juan de Arphe reproached his contemporaries for 
copying the designs of the Flemings ; but with little effect. 
The Gothic school of carving lasted until 1530, in which 
year Berruguete returned to Spain from Italy, where he 
had studied in the studio of Michael Angelo. Nicholas 



Bachelier of Toulouse, Geronimo Hernandez and Gregorio 
Par do also contributed to the development of the new style 
in Spain. 

Senor J. F. Riano says : " The brilliant epoch of sculp- 
ture (in wood) belongs to the Sixteenth Century, and was 
due to the great impulse it received from the works of Berru- 
guete and Felipe de Borgofiu. He was the chief promoter 
of the Italian style, and the choir of the Cathedral of Toledo, 
where he worked so much, is the finest specimen of the kind 
in Spain. Toledo, Seville, and Valladolid were at the time 
great productive and artistic centres." 

Regarding the decorative features of this school, M. 
Bonnaffe says: 

"If the tormented attitudes, excessive anatomy, and mus- 
cular effects recall the Florentine manner, yet the types 
remain frankly Spanish; the eye is dug with a deep and 
sure stroke that makes the arch of the brow stand strongly 
out, the arms and legs end in leaves, or in volutes of a par- 
ticular turn. The painted and gilded woods are treated 
with great skill and decorative refinements that denote a 
finished art. Spanish walnut has a close grain, and a singu- 
larly polished and lustrous surface. Cedar, cypress, and 
pine were principally used for the figures. Oak was imported 
from France and England, as it was scarce in Spain." 

" In Germany the Renaissance appeared under the power- 
ful influence and fruitful example of Albrecht Diirer who 
developed it to a high degree. Wood and copper engraving 
were a strong means of propagation for him and his pupils 
and they all used them freely to supply the workshops of 
all industries with the varied models of their ingenious 

Thus writes M. de Laborde; and, after studying the 
extant specimens of the furniture of that period and the 
designs of the masters of ornament, from Diirer to Diet- 


Plate VIII 

Gothic Credence (French) 
Metropolitan Museum 

Styles and Schools 

terlin, M. Bonnaffe decides that '* the German was an im- 
penitent Gothic who was never touched with the grace of 
the Renaissance. He accepted it unwilUngly, coarsened it, 
dislocated it, made its profiles heavy, and its propositions 
unnatural and excessive. The features of German work- 
manship are apparent at first sight ; rigid figures, intentional 
ugliness, a wealth of complicated ornaments executed with 
marvellous skill, shrivelled foliage, and deeply cut drapery 
extravagantly broken. The hands are long, thin and thick- 
jointed, the caryatides are hip-shot, the faces protrude vio- 
lently out of the frame. The thing as a whole is tormented, 
labored, tangled and tumultuous. There is no taste, but an 
inexhaustible animation; no grace and abandon, but the 
male, robust, passionate gait ; an extreme striving for effect, 
character and expression; and undeniable power. 

" This exuberant realism, controlled by the genius of Al- 
brecht Diirer, and tempered by Italian infiltration, produced 
works full of quality, and, for more than half a century, 
the school, carried along by the first impulsion of the master, 
continued its way, thanks to the vitality it had acquired. 
But when the day arrived on which it had no longer a leader, 
enthusiasm or counterpoise, and had nothing but itself to de- 
pend upon, the art followed in the wake of the Flemings and 
Italians of the Decadence. Germany had played its part : it 
still kept its accent, but no longer had a school or artists. 

" The Italian Decadence was rapid. Towards the end of 
the Sixteenth Century, the forms became bizarre, mannered 
and affected. The artist carries the imitation of temples 
and triumphal arches to extremes; he neglects carpentry, 
abuses soft woods that allow of summary methods and 
cheap carving, and is so lavish with decoration as to leave 
no rest for the eyes. The old marquetry of wood gives place 
to inlays of ivory, mother-of-pearl and shell, precious stones, 
and colored marbles, charged with applications of chased 



silver or gilt bronze. Wood was painted, gilded and dis- 
guised in a thousand ways ; it was covered with marquetry, 
veneer, ivory and stone; as a last resort, it was carved on 
every side rather than let it be visible. Everybody strove to 
denaturalize it and make it say more than it knew ; Florence 
covered it with mosaics, or gave it heroic poses; Venice 
twined it into crossettes, cuirs and volutes, enriched with 
gold; Milan enveloped it with ebony and ivory; Sienna 
carved it to perfection, but with a dry, poor, cold, sharp tool, 
the tool of a carver who wants to show what he knows. 
The Italians excelled in the art of wood-work^ as in every- 
thing else; but they comprehended it in their own way. 
With them the art consisted in disguising the wood : our aim 
was to give it its full value." 

The English Renaissance or Elizabethan 

The characteristics of the English Renaissance furniture, 
known as " Elizabethan," are carved 
human figures or medallions, masks, 
fruits, floral and chimerical animal 
forms, strap-work, bulbs, arabesques, 
nail-heads and gadroons. Sometimes 
the linen-fold, or tracery of the old 
style, accompanies the medallions of 
the new on the same piece of furniture. 
The carving as a rule is not so delicate 
"SSS'^^^^ S as the contemporary French or Italian. 
TURY Oak still predominates, but walnut is 

more common and marquetry of native and foreign woods 
is in great favor. The principal woods used in inlaying 
were walnut, ebony, rosewood, pear, cherry, apple, box, 
ash, yew and holly. Pear-wood was often stained black to 
imitate ebony. 


J ' > -•}'■> 



Plate IX 

Gothic Chairs 

Munich Museum 

Styles and Schools 

In England the Renaissance made slow progress. Henry 
VIII. imported able Italian artists and workmen for deco- 
rating Nonsuch House and other mansions, but the foreign 
novelties did not bear fruit quickly. '' The English School 
does not possess that unity and assimilation of those schools 
that know exactly what to select among the new elements 
and combine them skilfully so as to form a new, rejuvenated 
and yet national art. Its character is sometimes Germanized 
Italian, sometimes bastard Flemish, with a touch of Angli- 
cism in the heads and costumes ; for, as M. Laborde remarks, 
the Englishman is always insular, and exclusively copies the 
types and faces of his own country. 

" At the very height of the Elizabethan style, it is still a 
hard matter to distinguish between native wood-work and 
that produced by the Flemings who took refuge in England 
during the Spanish oppression. The English School is 
ruder and more material. The figure drawing is very in- 
ferior; and there is a liking for grotesque attitudes, odd 
composition and excessive ornamentation. There is, how- 
ever, a style about the whole ; it has a certain air of sumptu- 
ous grandeur which we cannot despise. Its favorite wood is 
oak ; sometimes it employs pear, ebony, and marquetry. The 
old inventories also mention works in cypress-wood.*' ^ 

Plate XVI. shows a typical court-cupboard of this period, 
of carved oak with the bulb ornaments as supports. A later 
court-cupboard, also of carved oak and American make, ap- 
pears on Plate XVII. The date attributed is 1 680-1 690. 
Both pieces are in the Metropolitan Museum. 

In Flanders, the Renaissance appeared early, and made 
rapid progress. A French authority thus describes its 
features : 

" Gothic by race and a carpenter par excellence, the Flem- 
ing remained faithful to the oak. He knew how to make 

* Bonnafif6. 




the most of it and to relieve its somewhat rude and severe 
aspect by an abundant and varied imagination, an ingenious 
appropriateness of form, spirited tool- work and correct de- 
sign. His somewhat short and squat figures do not possess 
the realism of the German, the distinction of the French, nor 
the grand bearing of the Italian; they are full, well-fed, 
smiling, expressive and of exquisite naturalism. The Flem- 
ish Renaissance speaks Spanish, German or French, accord- 
ing to the fashion, and so fluently that we do not always dis- 
tinguish the country accent on first hearing. But in the evil 
days of the Decadence, the national temperament resumed 
its rights; the school, full of life and sap at the start, 
broad and luxuriant in its maturity, grew dull and heavy 
in its old age. Vredeman de Vries laboriously imitated the 
delicacies of Du Cerceau ; Goltzius closely follows him with 
his puflfy, corpulent figures. The artist works by rule; the 
decoration is monotonous ; we find everywhere leather, cut, 
scooped, shrivelled imitations of carved wood. Soon ebony 
and colored species of wood imported from the Indies arrive 
in the market, and trade produces those immense works, 
monuments of massive carpentry, covered with diamond 
points and guilloche mouldings. The Sixteenth Century has 
spoken its last word." ^ 

The first Flemish designers who adopted the style of the 
Renaissance were Alaert Claas, Lucas van Leyden and 
Cornelis Bos. Claas (painter and engraver) worked in 
Utrecht from 1520 to 1555. Lucas van Leyden (painter 
and engraver), whose family name was Damesz, was born 
in Leyden in 1494 and died in 1533. Cornelis Bos (glass 
painter, architect and engraver), w^as born in Bois-le-Duc 
about 1 5 10. Another artist and engraver of the same school 
of decorative art was Martin van Heemskerck (1494-1574). 
Then came Cornelius and James Floris, whose family name 
* De Champeaux. 

5 , > > > 1 

5 J > > 

Plate X 

Bedstead, dated 1530, owned by the Princess 

Palatine Susanna 

Munich Museum 

Styles and Schools 

was De Vriendt. Cornelius had four sons : John, a potter, 
who settled in Spain; Frans Floris (i5i8?-7o), a painter; 
James (1524-81), a celebrated glass-painter; and Cor- 
nelius (1514-74), a sculptor and architect. 

James was also a skilful engraver and was particularly 
noted for his panels, or compartments, which in his day 
were such favorite designs. 

Cornelius and James Floris developed a new style, still 
known as the Floris style. Contemporary with Floris were 
Hans Liefrinck (1510-80); Cornelis Matsys (1500-56); 
Jerome Cock (1510-70); John Landen- 
spelder (6. 1511); Adrian Collaert (&. 
1520); Hans Collaert (i 540-1 622); and 
Vredeman de Vries (1527-?). The de- 
signs consist chiefly of grotesques, car- 
touches, " cuirsj' panels, compartments, 
friezes, trophies, " pendeloques " and other Venetian chair, 1500, 
goldsmiths^ motives. About 1580, De Tde'v^Is" 15^ 
Vries published Differents Pourtraicts de 
Menuiserie a scavoir, Portaux, Bancs, Tables, Escabelles, 
Buffets, Prises, Corniches, Licts de camp, Ornements a 
prendre a ressiioir les mains, Fontaines a laver les mains, 
De Vries was the pupil of Peter Coeck of Alost (1502- 
i55o)» who was a follower of Serlio, and owing to his 
varied knowledge and versatility may be said to sum up in 
himself the whole period of the Flemish Renaissance. In 
his own country, De Vries was called the " king of archi- 
tects." He was contemporary of Du Cerceau and was 
either influenced by that great French master, or, what is 
equally probable, both derived their style from the same 
Italian source. Hans Vredeman de Vries, however, is not 
so light and graceful as the French Jacques Androuet du 
Cerceau. De Vries still preserves the old forms which, 
however, receive new ornamentation. His furniture still 



seems designed for the room it occupies and the tables, 
benches, bedsteads and chairs are still extremely heavy. 
The old linen-fold pattern dies hard, panelling is still in 
vogue and little upholstery occurs in his plates. 

The works of Sebastian Serlio of Bologna were much 
studied in the Low Countries; and Peter Coeck of Alost 
was largely instrumental in making them popular because he 
translated Serlio's books into French and Flemish, and en- 
graved all the plates with his own hand, besides teaching 
his theories to enthusiastic pupils. 

Serlio eventually became the leading spirit of the School 
of Fontainebleau, established by Francis I., to which so 
many other Italian artists were attracted, and to which the 
Flemings flocked. 

Other designers of this period were Jacques van Noye; 
Mark Gevaerts (1530-90) ; Hendrick Van Schoel; Martin 
de Vos (1531-1603); G. Tielt (1580-1630); Cornelius 
Grapheus (1549-?); Baltazar Silvius {circ. 1554); Guil- 
helmus de la Queweelerie {circ. 1560) ; Peter Miricenis 
(1520-66); Hans Bol (1535-93); Abraham de Bruyn 
(1538-?); Crispin de Passe, the Elder (1536-?); Peter 
van der Borcht (1540-1608); Peter Baltens (1540-79); 
Paul Van Wtanvael {circ. 1570); Nicholas de Bruyn 
(1560-1635); Clement Perrete {circ. 1569); Assuerus 
Van Londerseel {h. 1548) ; Jerome Wierix {h. 1551) ; John 
Wierix {b. 1550); John Sadeler (1550-1610); Raphael 
Sadeler (i 555-1628); ^gidius Sadeler (i 570-1629); 
Dominic Custode {h. 1560) ; Ger. Groningus; Cornells Galle 
(157Q-1641); Philip Galle (1537-1612); Theodore Galle 
{h. 1560); Cornelis Dankherts {h. 1561); John Sambuci 
{circ. 1574); Francis Sweert {circ. 1690); Judocus 
Hondius (i 563-1 611); James Hannervogt. 





























Styles and Schools 

Louis XIII. Style 

In the Seventeenth Century, the sculptured furniture of 
the time of Henri IV. was superseded by the simpler styles 
of Louis XIII. which we see in the engravings by Abraham 
Bosse. The carver and sculptor was succeeded by the joiner 
and turner (memiisier) , finely carved columns were sup- 
planted by uprights, every piece of furniture was rectangu- 
lar, or nearly so; and draperies became of the utmost im- 
portance. Everything was hidden : the curtains of the bed 
completely covered the framework ; and, when drawn, made 
the bed a perfect square. The curtains ^ 
were often decorated with braid or lace 
applied so as to form little squares. The 
table, likewise, disappeared beneath the 
cloth, which was put on very tightly across 
the slab and then flowed in ample folds ^=°' ^^^ ^^^^^ 
at each corner. The cloth not only reached but often 
lay upon the floor. Many of the chairs of the day were 
described as " in the Italian taste," — that is, covered with 
velvet and trimmed with lace, or fringe. 

The monumental and ornate cabinets, imported from 
Germany, Italy and Flanders, were a novelty; and the 
Italian taste brought to France the vogue of incrustations of 
mosaics, hard stones, painted plates, mother-of-pearl, ivory, 
and amber. Brass inlay and tortoise-shell work on a back- 
ground of wood mark the beginning of the style that was 
soon to bear the name of Boulle. 

Regarding the general form of the furniture of this period 
there is a tendency to divide pieces into two unequal parts 
(the upper part being the shorter), by means of a cornice,, 
shelf, or some decorative line: cabinets, armoires, etc., are 
monumental and architectural, surmounted by a broken pedi- 



ment. In many cases, the mouldings frame panels in which 
the square form predominates. Chairs are square, as are the 
bedsteads; the twisted column, spiral leg, and the baluster 
grow ever in popularity; console-tables and gueridons in- 
crease in favor; and heavy mirror-frames become an im- 
portant feature of decoration. 

The hexagon, which was so much used in the Henri II. 
period, is now supplanted by the octagon : the cartouche is 
a favorite ornament; is wider than it is high; and swells 
out into an exaggerated convex curve. Balusters also be- 
come corpulent, as do vases. The latter, moreover, stand on 
small bases. 

Of the Style Louis Treize, Rouaix says : " At the be- 
ginning of the Seventeenth Century, Marie de' Medicis 
brought to France the Italians of the Decadence, with 
their bizarre taste, their abuse of theatrical and compli- 
cated decoration and their passion for ebony and colored 
woods. The value of the work no longer consisted in the 
modelling of the reliefs, the variety of the planes, and the 
play of light and shade, but in the variety of color and the 
variety of the material. The art of furniture suffered a 
complete change of physiognomy; assembled panels were 
given up in favor of smooth surfaces that would allow the 
inlay of tiny leaves, making the most of costly woods and 
their coloration. Forsaken by fashion, furniture of walnut 
wood rapidly declined. The antique column, straight and 
strong, became bent and twisted ; the used-up, commonplace 
ornament had no longer any youth or energy. The carver 
yielded first place to the inlayer. 

" The faces of the mascarons are chubby and expression- 
less and the cornucopias, which are so much used, are very 
slender, although they are overflowing with fruits. Apples and 
pears are the favorite fruits. The garlands are composed 
of fruits and leaves and very seldom are any flowers used." 


Plate XII 
Burgundian Dressoir (1570) 

Styles and Schools 

The Louis XIII. Style is dominated by the Flemish spirit. 
Rubens was called to Paris by Marie de' Medicis in 1625 
and set the fashion in decorative art. Simon Vouet was the 
chief of the French masters. The compositions of Abraham 
Bosse, Delia Bella, Mitelli and Legare also illustrate the 
style. " The characteristic impression is one of heaviness 
and weariness. The furniture is sombre. Dark tones prevail 
and the marquetry of this period, consisting of metal, wood 
and tortoise-shell, is somewhat severe and cold. The orna- 
ment comprises round, inflated cartouches, massive balusters, 
twisted columns, heavy garlands (of large fruits, apples and 
pears, with few leaves), and strong mouldings almost bare 
of ornament." ^ 

The Rubens Style 

At this period, the Rubens Style dominated everything in 
France. Rubens had spent eight years in Mantua and we see 
in his designs a fusion of Flemish and Italian influences. 
Two years after Rubens's death, Crispin van den Passe pub- 
lished at Amsterdam in 1642 his Boutique Menuiserie, which 
contains several plates of furniture. The Rubens Style had 
not abated. 

Simon Vouet was one of the artists employed by the 
splendor-loving Cardinal Richelieu to decorate his Palais 
Royal and Castle of Rueil. 

Goldsmiths were greatly influential in forming the new 
style; and it is difficult in looking over the work of all the 
designers of the period to determine what belongs to the 
reigning fashion and what is original. One of the most 
original artists is generally conceded to be Delia Bella, " who 
exhibited a personality so free from all influences that a 
goodly number of his models would more appropriately pass 

* Rouaiz. 


as belonging to the style of Louis XIV. rather than to that of 
Louis XIIL" 

The Genre Auriculaire 

One of the most curious motives of ornamentation in 
this period was the human ear. The lines of the outer 
rim and the lobe, as well as those of the whole ear, were 
carried to excess and distorted and tortured into scrolls and 
curves of all sizes and shapes. Rabel was one of the chief 
exponents of the genre auriculaire (from auricle) in France. 
Several Dutch designers published plates of drawings, among 
whom were John Lutma and Gerbrandt van den Eeckhout; 
but it was in Germany that this peculiar style met with the 
greatest favor. The plates of Friederich Unteutsch, pub- 
lished in Frankfort in 1650, show the ear prominent as an 
ornament on all kinds of furniture; and nothing could be 
more eccentric. 

Three chairs from the Parma Museum of Antiquities 
(Plate XVIIL) exemplify Italian taste in the second half 
of the Seventeenth Century. The legs, stretchers and arms 
show whence the French designers under Louis XIV. drew 
their inspiration. The backs also have a family likeness to 
chairs that came into fashion later in England, France and 
Holland. The scroll work on the chair in the centre is almost 
as unrestrained as in the designs of Meissonnier and Chip- 
pendale. The curves of the rococo and the genre auriculaire 
are both present. 

When we examine the old furniture of the palaces and 
museums of Italy, wx are sometimes amazed to find that the 
forms and styles particularly of seats are almost identical 
with those of France, England, or the Netherlands. Thus, 
the beautiful chair covered with Cordovan leather on 
Plate XIX., owned by Count Stefano Orsetti in Lucca, is a 
product of the Seventeenth Century; and yet the scrolled 


Plate XIII 

Carved Bedstead, Francois I. 
Cluny Museum 

Styles and Schools 

bars that connect the legs and the legs themselves greatly 
resemble the Dutch furniture made for Hampton Court in 
1690. Again, the chair, Plate XX., No. 3, is similar in its 
turned supports, front rail and the tall panelled back to the 
cane chairs in vogue under Charles II. and William and 
Mary ; and yet it is a Roman chair of the Seventeenth Cen- 
tury, now in the Museo Civico, Milan. 

It is well known that famous French and Flemish masters 
of decorative design studied in Italy in the Sixteenth, Seven- 
teenth and Eighteenth Centuries, but the Italians did not 
seek inspiration north of the Alps, so that when we find 
identical forms, we look to Italy as the leader, or seek a 
common origin. 

The Jacobean Period 

The style of furniture in the Jacobean period differed but 
little from the Elizabethan, though it showed less originality 
and became more formal. 

" Designs grew flatter and the treatment of floral orna- 
ment more stiff and conventional. Another feature of the 
decoration was that ornaments were frequently applied and 
not cut out of the solid. The most prominent details of the 
ornament was strap- work and half balusters or drops ; jewels 
and bosses were also common. Geometrical arrangements 
of panelling such as a lozenge-shaped panel within a square 
or rectangle surrounded by four L-shaped panels frequently 
occur." ^ 

This style lasted until the end of the century. 

Carved figures were gradually supplanted by turned sup- 
ports and uprights; and the surfaces were panelled with 
geometrical designs and decorated with applied ornaments 
of real or imitation ebony. 

1 PoUen. 


Plate XXI. represents a Court cupboard of this character 
— a style that was long in vogue in England's colonies. 
Pieces of this type are occasionally found in the old homes 
of New England. 

Sir Henry Wotton, ambassador to Venice in 1604, sent 
home some specimens of Italian wood-carving and pub- 
lished Elements of Architecture; Sir Walter Raleigh sent 
for a Flemish workman to carve his fine oak chimney-piece 
at his house in Youghal, Ireland ; and in the reign of James 
I., Inigo Jones, "the English Vitruvius," returned from 
Italy as a follower of Palladio. The Great Fire of London 
(1666) brought Sir Christopher Wren's talents into special 

The Tudor Style died hard, however, and some of the 
old motives of carving lingered long; but the new styles 
had taken root. 

Pear- wood, owing to the evenness of the grain and the 
beautiful color, has always been a favorite with English 
carvers and cabinet-makers, especially for jewel-boxes and 
small caskets. Grinling Gibbons worked much in this wood, 
and at this period produced his beautiful garlands of fruits 
and flowers for overmantels and frames that are still the 
admiration and despair of carvers. 

Exotic woods began to be imported into the Low Countries 
and England by the traders with the East and the New 
World; and so, in addition to oak, walnut, cedar, olive and 
nutwood, there were, among other novelties, king-wood 
from Brazil, a hard wood with black veins on a chocolate 
ground ; pale red beef -wood from New Holland, much used 
for borders ; palissandre, or violet wood, from New Guinea, 
used for inlays on fine furniture and for such fine pieces as 
commodes, etc. ; and sacredaan, or Java mahogany, yellow, 
or pale orange in color, very hard and very fragrant. 

A favorite ornament for table-legs, posts of bedsteads and 


Plate XIV 

Armoire lie de France. Middle 
of Sixteenth Century 

Styles and Schools 

supports of cupboards and cabinets was the swelling bulb. 
This was sometimes carved with a leaf or floral device and 
sometimes stained black. Mouldings and panels were much 
used, and the spindle ornament, cut in half, stained black and 
applied to the surface. Lozenges and ovals were also stained 
black and applied in this style. Turned 
furniture was fast supplanting carved ar- 
ticles and the Age of Oak was fast disap- 
pearing. Lacquer varnish was much used 
in England, and there was quite a rage for 
" painted and japanned " furniture. 

Another favorite embellishment of broad 
surfaces was to inlay them with woods of 
different colors in various designs. The chair-tableTseven- 
latter taste rapidly advanced during this teenth ceotury 
century with the constantly increasing importation of the 
beautiful exotic woods from the East and West Indies. 
Until the Sixteenth Century, marquetry seems to have con- 
sisted entirely of ivory and ebony; but now strange woods 
were employed. In the famous pamphlet, L'Isle des Herma- 
phrodites, directed against Henri III. and his Court, the 
author says : "As for the furniture, we should like to have 
it all of gold, silver, and marquetry, and the pieces, es- 
pecially the canopies of the beds, if possible, of cedar, rose, 
and other odoriferous woods, unless you would rather have 
them of ebony or ivory." 

The Italians of the Decadence had a passion for ebony 
and colored woods, and theatrical and complicated deco- 
rations. Furniture completely changed its physiognomy; 
the decorative panels with all their ornaments are re- 
nounced for plain surfaces on which marquetry can be 
displayed to advantage. Forsaken by fashion, walnut drops 
out of use; profiles are multiplied; the fine cuirs that were 
cut in solid bosses sprawl about in an enervated, weakened 



fashion; the straight, firm, and springing Classic column 
now becomes twisted and distorted; and the stale and banal 
decoration has neither sinews nor youth. The sculptor 
yields his place to the marquetry worker and the carpenter 
(menuisier) becomes a cabinet-maker (ebeniste). 

At this period Italy carried to perfection the peculiar 
inlay of rare and polished marbles, agates, pebbles and 
lapis-lazuli called pietra dura and the style was imitated 
in other countries; so that during the Decadence the old 
marquetry of wood gave place to incrustrations of mother- 
of-pearl, shell, precious stones, colored marbles, painted 
glass, and the furniture was made even more sumptuous by 
the additions of key-plates, handles, feet and other trim- 
mings, or mounts, of silver or gilded bronze (or-moulu). 
A new kind of marquetry made its appearance in the Seven- 
teenth Century, and seems to have originated in the Low 
Countries. It consisted of large designs of flowers, par- 
ticularly the tulip, birds and foliage represented in various 
woods very brightly dyed. Bits of ivory or mother-of- 
pearl were added to give brightness to the eyes of the birds 
and the petals of the flowers. This kind of marquetry was 
very popular in England when William and Mary reigned, 
when Dutch taste dominated the fashions in everything; and 
was probably inspired by the East. 

On Plates XXII. and XXIII. a very interesting cabinet 
of this style is exhibited, open and closed. This piece 
belongs to the Metropolitan Museum and is attributed to the 
reign of Queen Anne. The decoration is in the " Chinese " 

Oriental Influences 

Here we may perhaps pause to review the effect produced 
by early contact with the East. 

During the Sixteenth Century, while the Portuguese had 


Plate XV 
Chair. Lyonnais. Sixteenth Century 

Styles and Schools 

a monopoly of the trade of the Far East, a great deal of 
Oriental furniture was brought to Lisbon, and from there 
carried to Northern Europe. In Elizabethan days also, 
piratical navigators often brought Portuguese cargoes into 
English ports, and consequently we find lacquer and porce- 
lain in the inventories of the rich. 

From 1497, when Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of 
Good Hope and discovered the sea route to India, the Por- 
tuguese held a monopoly of the trade of the Far East for 
a hundred years. During that time, a vast amount of 
Oriental wares was brought into the Tagus and distributed 
thence through Northern Europe, principally by Dutch ships, 
but the Renaissance was in full flower, and the exotics 
made no impression on the style of the period. This is 
strange, because the importations were considerable. Be- 
tween 1497 ^^^ 1 52 1 Lisbon sent out 220 ships. 

Writing in 1601, De Laval informs us that three or four 
carracks went out from Lisbon every year. They were the 
largest vessels in the world, being of 1500 and 2000 tons 
burden, having four decks, and not being able to float in 
less than ten fathoms of water. It took them three years 
to make the voyage to Goa, Cochin, Malacca, Sunda, Ma- 
cao, and Japan, and back. These Portuguese ships therefore 
brought home all the choice wares and products of India, 
China, Japan and the Spice Islands. 

De Laval says it is impossible to enumerate all the rare 
and beautiful things imported. Among those he mentions 
are " great store of gilded woodwork, such as all sorts of 
vessels and furniture lacquered, varnished and gilded with 
a thousand pretty designs, all kinds of silk stuffs, much 
porcelain ware, many boxes, plates and baskets made of 
little reeds covered with lacquer and varnished in all colors, 
gilded and patterned. Among other things, I should men- 
tion a great number of cabinets of all patterns in the fashion 



of those of Germany. This is an article of the most perfect 
and of the finest workmanship to be seen anywhere; for 
they are all of choice woods and inlaid with ivory, mother- 
of-pearl and precious stones : in place of iron they are 
mounted with gold. The Portuguese call them Escritorios 
de la Chine/' 

The exclusive right of the Portuguese to the Eastern 
trade was not always respected by English and Dutch ad- 
venturers, for London and Amsterdam sometimes received 
diplomatic protests against violent intrusion, and irregular 

In 1580, Philip IL, the master of the revolted Nether- 
lands, seized Portugal, and, of course, closed Lisbon and all 
other ports against Dutch and English ships. It was not 
long before depredations by the latter were heard of in the 
Indian Ocean. In 1598, Cecil's Lisbon agent reports that 
three carracks have arrived from India, and one was burnt 
there full laden. They bring news that two English ships 
in India have taken two Portugal ships rich with treasure 
that were on their voyage from Goa to China. This gives 
point to De Laval's remark (1601) that the carracks are 
sent out *' to return if they can." 

In 1602, both the Dutch and English East India Com- 
panies were established; and for the rest of the century 
Amsterdam supplanted Lisbon as the emporium of Eastern 
w^ares. In the bitter competition that ensued, the Dutch 
outstripped the English ; and the Magazine of the Indies in 
Amsterdam became the most important mart in Europe for 
porcelain and lacquer goods. London, however, received 
large shipments. As early as 161 9, the inventory of the 
Earl of Northampton's effects includes the following arti- 
cles from Far Cathay : " A China * guilte cabonett ' upon a 
frame ; a large square China work table and frame of black 
varnish and gold; one fair crimson velvet chair richly em- 


Plate XVI 

Carved Oak Court-Cupboard. Tudor Period 
Metropolitan Museum 

C C ( ( ( ( c 

Styles and Schools 

bossed with copper and spread eagles and blue and white 
flowers China work, the frame painted with gold, one small 
table of China work in gold and colors with flies and worms, 
a little gilded couch carved and cut, an ebony cabinet inlaid 
with mother-of-pearl; a very large bedstead with wreathed 
pillars for head, sides and feet all colored black and gold; 
a folding Indian screen; a China cushion embroidered with 
birds, beasts and flowers; and a field-bedstead of China 
work black and silver." 

It was the porcelain and the smooth lacquered surfaces 
with contrasted colors that appealed to the Dutch and 
English; at first, they did not care for the designs of the 
artists of the East. We know this because they sent out 
patterns for the decorations of both porcelain and wood- 
work to suit the taste of the home market. The Chinese 
found it impossible to execute some of the orders. A Jesuit 
missionary of the day reported : " European merchants often 
order from the Chinese workmen porcelain plaques to form 
the top of a table, or back of a chair, or frame of a picture. 
These works are impossible ; the greatest length and width 
of a plate is about one foot. If they are made larger than 
that, no matter how thick, they bend." 

The Dutch East India Company imported enormous 
quantities of porcelain: the fleets of 1664-5 alone brought 
in more than sixty thousand pieces. Before this, however, 
the Dutch had begun to imitate the Oriental wares with 
great success, both in clay and varnish. Delft pottery soon 
became famous; and japanning in close imitation of lacquer 
was soon an important industry both in Holland and Eng- 
land. Home labor, however, cost more than foreign; and 
European manufacturers found it cheaper to have the panels, 
etc., decorated abroad and then make them up into furniture 
at home. This aroused great discontent in the trade towards 
the end of the century. The English japanners complained 



to the government, reciting their grievances. In 1702, one 
complaint states that in 1672 the East India Company sent 
agents abroad with a great quantity of English patterns for 
the Indians to manufacture the wares most marketable 
in England and other European countries. The cargoes 
of three ships sold at the East India House in 1700 give 
evidence that much lacquer-work was made up in England. 
The sale of the chinaware alone realized £150,000; and the 
other articles as much more. These included : 

Fans £38,557 

Lacquered sticks for fans 13,470 

Lacquered trunks, escritoires, bowls, cups, dishes . . . 10,500 

Lacquered inlaid tables 189 

Lacquered panels, in frames, painted and carved for rooms 47 

Lacquered boards 178 

Lacquered brushes 3,099 

Lacquered tables (not inlaid) 277 

Lacquered fans for fire 174 

Lacquered boards for screens 54 

Screens set in frames 71 

Paper josses i>799 

Shells double gilt 281 

Paper painted for fans, images, pictures, brass for lanterns 
and embroideries. 

The tall japanned clocks that were so popular for nearly 
a century after the accession of William and Mary in 1689, 
must have been constructed in England with the above- 
mentioned imported boards or panels, when not of home 
manufacture, because the tall clock was not in vogue in the 
East. Only the table clock was used there, and it seems 
that even this was a Euporean novelty in the Sixteenth 
Century. De Laval (1601) writes that among the goods 
taken by the Portuguese from Goa to China are " all sorts 
of glass and crystal ware and clocks which are highly 



Plate XVII 

Court or Press Cupboard. American, (i 680-1 690) 
Metropolitan Museum 

Styles and Schools 

prized by the Chinese." The latter soon profited from the 
models, for Samuedo says in his History of China: 
" The workmanship of Europe which they most admired 
was our clocks, but now they make of them such as are set 
upon tables, very good ones." The tall case-of -drawers on 
Plate XXIV. is a fine example of this lacquered work. Each 
drawer presents a different picture of Chinese scenes — 
houses, trees, birds, dragons, etc. The piece is in two parts. 
The case-of -drawers consists of four drawers and the 
stand of one long drawer and three short drawers below. 
In modern parlance this is frequently called a *' high boy " 
and the stand is sometimes used as a " low boy." These 
names, however, never appear in the inventories. The 
cabriole legs with hoof feet preceded those of the claw- 

The craze for the Chinese style of ornament lasted in 
England till the accession of George III. Books of design 
containing so-called Chinese furniture had appeared before 
Chippendale, whose Director caters to the French, Gothic, 
and Chinese tastes of the middle of the century. Sir William 
Chambers wrote his book Designs of Chinese Buildings, 
Furniture, Dresses, Machines, and Utensils (1757), partly, 
as he explains in the preface, to put a stop to " the extraor- 
dinary fancies that daily appear under the name of Chinese, 
though most of them are mere inventions, the rest copies 
from the lame representations found on porcelain and paper 

This authority resided for some time in Canton, and there- 
fore was able to write a trustworthy description of Chinese 
architecture and house decoration. He says: 

" The movables of the saloon consist of chairs, stools, 
and tables; made sometimes of rosewood, ebony, or 
lacquered work, and sometimes of bamboo only, which is 
cheap, and, nevertheless, very neat. When the movables 



are of wood, the seats of the stools are often of marble or 
porcelain, which, though hard to sit on, are far from un- 
pleasant in a climate where the summer heats are so ex- 
cessive. In the corners of the rooms are stands four or 
five feet high, on which they set plates of citrons, and other 
fragrant fruits, or branches of coral in vases of porcelain, 
and glass globes containing goldfish, together with a certain 
weed somewhat resembling fennel; on such tables as are 
intended for ornament only they also place the little land- 
scapes, composed of rocks, shrubs, and a kind of lily that 
grows among pebbles covered with water. Sometimes, also, 
they have artificial landscapes made of ivory, crystal, amber, 
pearls, and various stones. I have seen some of these that 
cost over 300 guineas, but they are at least mere baubles, 
and miserable imitations of Nature. Besides these land- 
scapes they adorn their tables with several vases of por- 
celain, and little vases of copper, which are held in great 
esteem. These are generally of simple and pleasing forms. 
The Chinese say they were made two thousand years ago, 
by some of their celebrated artists, and such as are real 
antiques (for there are many counterfeits) they buy at an 
extravagant price, giving sometimes no less than £300 ster- 
ling for one of them. 

" The bedroom is divided from the saloon by a partition 
of folding doors, which, when the weather is hot, are in 
the night thrown open to admit the air. It is very small, and 
contains no other furniture than the bed, and some varnished 
chests in which they keep their apparel. The beds are very 
magnificent; the bedsteads are made much like ours in 
Europe — of rosewood, carved, or lacquered work : the 
curtains are of taffeta or gauze, sometimes flowered with 
gold and commonly either blue or purple. About the top 
a slip of white satin, a foot in breadth, runs all round, on 
which are painted in panels different figures — flower pieces, 












Styles and Schools 

landscapes, and conversation pieces interspersed with moral 
sentences and fables written in Indian ink." 

France took longer than Holland or England to feel 
the influence of the East. In the early years of the century, 
as we have seen, decoration was subject to the Italians 
patronized by Marie de' Medicis, and then came the style 
Rubens. In the next generation, Mazarin was a leading 
patron of Oriental art, which was apparently a revelation 
to the Court. We learn from the diary of La Grande 
Mademoiselle, the eccentric cousin of Louis XIV., that in 
1658, the Cardinal gave a lottery in which everybody got 
a prize. Beforehand, he gave her, in company with Anne of 
Austria, Queen Henrietta Maria and her daughter, a private 
view of the treasures, taking them into a gallery, where, 
among other treasures displayed, were "all the beautiful 
things that come from China." 

At this time, Oriental goods reached Paris by way of 
Amsterdam or London. The Jesuit missionaries contrib- 
uted largely to the knowledge of their countrymen in this 
field. In 1660, John Evelyn, living in voluntary exile in 
Paris, notes in his diary: 

" One Tomson, a Jesuit, showed me such a collection of 
rarities, sent from the Jesuits of Japan and China to their 
Order at Paris as a present to be received in their depository, 
but brought to London by the East India ships for them, 
as in my life I had not seen. The chief things were rhi- 
nosceros horns, glorious vests wrought and embroidered 
on cloth-of-gold, but with such lively colors that for splendor 
and vividness we have nothing in Europe that approaches 
it; fans like those our ladies use, but much larger, and 
with long handles curiously carved and filled with Chinese 
characters; a sort of paper very broad, thin and fine, like 
abortive parchment,^ and exquisitely polished, of an amber 

* Fine vellum. 


yellow, exceedingly glorious and pretty to look on; several 
other sorts of paper, some written, others printed; prints 
of landscapes, their idols, saints, pagods, of most ugly, 
serpentine, monstrous, and hideous shapes, to which they 
paid devotion; pictures of men and countries rarely printed 
on a sort of gum'd calico, transparent as glasse; flowers, 
trees, beasts, birds, etc., excellently wrought in a sort of 
sieve silk very naturall." 

Louis XIV. Style 

In 1667, the manufactory of the Gobelins was established 
with the painter Le Brun as director. The beautiful work 
of all kinds that was sent from there was greatly respon- 
sible for changing the styles of the day. French taste 
began to dominate Europe; and when the French Court 
removed to Versailles in 1682, the furnishing of which had 
cost the king a fortune, and for which nearly everything 
had been supplied by the Gobelins works, the eyes of the 
world were turned to the splendors of the Sun-King. 

The characteristic design of this period consists of the 
straight line and the curve. The curve is bold. Interlaced 
bars, or bars ending in scrolls, are found in the forms of 
furniture, in the inlays of brass and wood and upon the walls 
of rooms. The architectural mouldings are stout and wide 
and are rich in such classic ornaments as palm-leaves and 
ovolos. The geometrical ensemble is always simple: fur- 
niture is often rectangular, put together very solidly and is 
always rather heavy. The bases and supports rest firmly 
on the floor and are usually close to it and the straining- 
rails are heavy as will be noticed in the chair on Plate XXV. 
Tables are supported on pilasters, or massive columns; and 
the bombe sweep often appears in such articles as consoles 
and commodes (see Plate XXVI. ). 


Seventeenth Century Arm-Chair covered with Cordovan 


Styles and Schools 

The general style of the ornamentation, particularly when 
Lepautre dominated the general taste, was Roman, accord- 
ing perfectly with the style of the architecture, which was 
also Roman and heroic. Classic trophies are massed to- 
gether like the spoils of battle. We find cuirasses, plumed 
helmets, shields, lictor's fasces, laurel wreaths, clubs and 
swords; allegorical divinities representing vanquished 
Rivers; mythological dieties; winged Victories; Victories 
blowing trumpets; River-gods leaning on their urns; and 
the cornucopia, which is much heavier than the horn of 
plenty used in the days of Louis XIII. and has a wider 
mouth. The acanthus, like every other leaf, becomes broad, 
bloated and strong, and the garlands, or swags of fruits, 
flowers or leaves, are exceedingly heavy. On the cartouche, 
which is both circular, or a perfect oval, is displayed the coat- 
of-arms, the fleur-de-lys, or the double L — the cypher of 
the King. The mascaron is omnipresent; and a combi- 
nation of scroll and shell is much used. The anthemion, 
or honeysuckle pattern, is a favorite central ornament. 

In furniture, the newest and most striking articles are the 
supports of the tables, the consoles, and the gueridons des- ^ 
tined to support crystal girandoles; the Italian mosaics of n^"^^^^ 
stones and the ebony furniture and French furniture con- 
sisting of incrustations of metal and shell on a bed of wood, 
or marquetry of colored woods. Notable are the supports 
and architectural members of furniture ornamented by 
plump figures — men and women, figures en game, chimserae, 
groups of children or genies holding garlands and festoons. 
The standing screen (ecran) is quite popular. 

Some critics think that the splendid silver furniture that 
came into the French Court with Anne of Austria was re- 
sponsible for developing a taste for carved and gilded 
furniture. However that may be, it is a fact that the taste 
for the latter was not confined to the wealthy. The frames 



of the chairs and sofas, the tables, the mirrors (now being 
made at the Gobelin manufactory), were elaborately carved 
and gilded and adorned comparatively modest dwellings. 

The heavy and enormous chimney-piece of the foregoing 
reign was abandoned for the " little chimney-piece " ; mir- 
rors brightened the walls, the panels of which were painted 
and gilt, carved and gilt, or hung with tapestries of bright 
hues; the floors were inlaid with handsome woods and the 
rich brocades, damasks and velvets from Lyons, Genoa and 
Flanders that were used to cover the seats and drape the 
beds were of bright colors. Among the new hues, a flame 
color, called aurora, and a purplish red, called amaranth, 
were especially popular. 

During the reign of Louis XIV. there was a rage for fine 
marbles. Colored marbles were brought to France from 
Italy and Africa; and some old quarries in France were 
opened; Verde antique (Egyptian marble), Violet Broca- 
telle; alabaster; blue marbles; yellow marbles; red mar- 
bles; yellow marbles with red veins; speckled marbles; 
and many other varieties were employed, not only for 
chimney-pieces and other decorations, but for the tops of 
commodes, bureaus, etc. 

The first part of this period was dominated by Le Brun, 
and the last by Berain. 

Le Brun was a marvel of industry: " Between 1663 and 
1690, he drew the cartoons after which were woven nineteen 
hangings, that is to say, 84,000 ells of tapestry; and at the 
same time, he was executing or directing the decorations 
at Versailles, Saint-Germain and Marly, making designs for 
the royal plate, architectural plans, such as those for the 
church of Saint Eustache, the Gates of Paris, the Fountains 
of Versailles, making suggestions for the decoration of ships, 
and collaborating with numerous sculptors in the erection of 
various monuments. All this personal work was got through 












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Styles and Schools 

in addition to the daily official duties of the superintendent 
of the manufactory, in which lived not only a whole popu- 
lation of artists and workmen, but also sixty poor children 
apprenticed to the trade by the Treasury. It is greatly to 
the credit of Le Brun that he knew how to gather about 
him to aid him in carrying out the vast commissions of 
Louis XIV. all the most eminent artists of the day ; in fact 
we may almost say he was instrumental in their rise; and 
when we see the list of their names, it is impossible to help 
admiring the liberal-mindedness of this great man and his 
skill in associating with each other men of the most varied 
gifts, and of leading them by the force of his own example 
to collaborate in works of a most diverse character. At the 
Gobelins Manufactory, Le Brun induced the painters Van 
der Meulen, Monnoyer, Yvart, the two Boullognes, Noel 
and Antoine Coypel, with the sculptors Coysevox, Anguier, 
Tuby and Caffieri, and the engravers, Le Clerc, Audran and 
Rousselet, to work side by side with the ebenists Cucci, Pi- 
erre, Poitou, the jewellers Alexis Loir, Claude de Villers 
and Dutel, the lapidaries Gracetti, Branchi, Horatio and 
Ferdinando, Mighorini and the tapestry-makers Jans and 
his son. These are but a few amongst the many employees 
of the manufactory, and to them must be added the artists 
who lodged in the Louvre and were under the control of the 
chief superintendent, such as the jeweller Bellin, the ebenist 
Charles Andre Boulle and the engraver Varin; whilst be- 
yond his direct authority, though within the sphere of his 
activity, were yet other workers, whom we must not neglect 
to notice, such as Marot, Lepautre and Berain." ^ 

Jean Lepautre (born in Paris, died in 1682), and his 
brother, Antoine (1621-1691), had also great influence, 
particularly Jean. More than two thousand plates came 
from his hand. Lepautre's style by reason of his heavy 

* An(lr6 Saglio. 


forms much overcharged with ornamentation belongs 
rather to the period of Louis XIII. than to that of Louis 

"Le Brun, pompous as he is, is less luxuriant in his 
decorative compositions than Lepautre, who proceeds di- 
rectly from the Italians. A master carpenter himself, he 
supplied the models for most of the sculptors in wood of 
his day: the consoles, tables, settees and doors inspired by 
his designs may be counted by hundreds. All the furniture 
that he originated is heavy and powerful in form. His big 
tables destined to support heavy marbles are solidly placed 
on their feet, are rectangular and have heavy supports, — 
a noble style that probably appeared less heavy in the rich 
architectural surroundings in which they were placed.'' ^ 

Domenico Cucci, an Italian designer, is little known ex- 
cept to the erudite; but the influence of his mind in the 
decoration of the royal palaces, and, consequently on the 
taste of the day was very great. The account-books call 
him " ehcniste et fondenr." He was noted for his ornate 
ebony cabinets, ornamented with Florentine mosaic-work 
and superb bronzes that were made in the Gobelins foundry. 
Cucci also made decorative locks, door-handles, window- 
bolts, door-frames, garden- furniture, and even an organ 
case. It is more than probable that he was the author of 
some of the bronze ornaments for Boulle's furniture. 

Filippo Caffieri, also an Italian, was a fine wood-carver. 
He came from Rome about 1660, and was employed to 
make furniture and picture frames for the royal palaces. 
He seems to fill a gap between the Italian style of Cucci and 
Le Bi-un. The folding-doors of the great staircase in Ver- 
sailles, decorated with panels in which the sun, helmets, the 
royal monogram, chimaerse, cornucopias, laurel leaves and 
the lyre are carved, are his work. 

* Molinier. 


Plate XXI 

Jacobean Court-Cupboard 
Metropolitan Museum 

Styles and Schools 

Caffieri made a great many gueridons, or tripod tables, 
carved arm-chairs and folding-chairs, most of which were 
intended to be gilded, silvered or lacquered. 

This period is particularly distinguished by the furniture 
made by Andre Charles Boulle, who, like many others of 
the period, came of a family of decorative artists. His 
father and uncle were menuisiers du roi and had lodgings in 
the Louvre; and Boulle himself had several sons who con- 
tinued his work after his long life of ninety years ended. 
Boulle's name is chiefly associated with — indeed is used to 
define — a special kind of marquetry composed of incrus- 
tations of metal and tortoise-shell on wood ; but Boulle was 
not the inventor of it, as is sometimes claimed for him. 
Marquetry-work of this kind was made by the Italians who 
flocked to France under the rule of Mazarin, and was 
practised by Boulle's four sons and his many imitators who 
kept it in fashion during the second half of the Eighteenth 
Century. Work of this character was also ordered by the 
King from the Flemish cabinet-maker Alexandre Jean 

Boulle's furniture is excessively luxurious and harmon- 
izes only in a rich setting. He made consoles, armoires, 
commodes, cabinets, tables, desks and clock-cases. His 
designs are heavy and generally taken from the Louis XHL 
models; but they also are frequently in the newer taste. 
His commodes are often bombe and sometimes the upper 
part of his armoires swells into the large curve. Boulle was 
very clever in his use of bronze and copper ornaments. His 
console-tables and commodes are greatly admired. (See 
Plate XXVL) 

Father Boulle did an enormous amount of work and 
received orders from the King and numerous princes and 
other rich patrons. It would, however, have been impos- 
sible for him to have executed all the pieces attributed to 



his hand. The specimens in the Wallace Collection, the 
Louvre, the Mazarin Library, Paris and Windsor Castle, 
are authentic. Sometimes Boulle borrowed the models of 
Lepautre, Le Brun and Berain. Cucci is thought to have 
been responsible for many of their ornamental figures in 

Boulle's official title was " eheniste, ciseleur et marqueteur 
ordinaire du roi" 

" In the earlier furniture made by Boulle the inlay was 
produced at great cost, owing to the waste of material in 
cutting; and the shell is left of its natural color. In later 
work the manufacture was more economical. Two or three 
thicknesses of the different materials were glued together 
and sawn through at one operation. An equal number of 
figures and of matrices or hollow pieces exactly correspond- 
ing were thus produced, and, by countercharging, two or 
more designs were obtained by the same sawing. These are 
technically known as boulle and counter, the brass forming 
the groundwork and the pattern alternately. In the later 
boulle the shell is laid on a gilt ground or on vermilion. 
Sometimes the two styles are distinguished as the first part 
'and the second part. The general opinion on the relative 
value of each seems to be that, while admitting the good 
effect of the two styles as a whole, the first part should be 
held in higher estimation as being the more complete. We 
there see with what intelligence the elaborate graving cor- 
rects the coldness of certain outlines; the shells trace their 
furrows of light, the draperies of the canopies fall in cleverly 
disordered folds, the grotesque heads grin, the branches of 
foliage are lightened by the strongly marked edges of the 
leaves, and everything lives and has a language. In the 
counterpart we can find only the reflection of the idea and 
the faded shadow of the original.'* ^ 

* Havard. 

Plate XXII 

Marquetry Writing-Desk, Chinese Designs, Queen Anne 

Period (closed) 

Metropolitan Museum 

Styles and Schools 

We have seen that the French were slower than the 
Dutch to adopt Oriental design. Huygens, a Dutchman, was 
fairly successful in his efforts to imitate the real lacquer 
and exploited his discoveries in Paris. Before the end of 
the century there were three manufactories for furniture 
painted and varnished in the " Chinese style '* one of which 
made " cabinets and screens in the Chinese style." 

Lacquer-work on black background or red background 
and '* laques de Coromandel " were also used for panels, 
armoires and for folding-screens. 

Louis le Hongre and Martin Dufaux made paintings and 
varnished cabinets for Versailles; lacquered furniture was 
made at the Gobelins and " oh jets Chinois" or " ohjets 
Lachine " were to be had in many shops. 

Furniture now began to be affected : the forms remained 
European but the decorations often show an Eastern origin. 
" Certain models of decoration introduced in the midst of 
rocaille work are indeed copies of Oriental motives that 
are very well known. Chinese are the dragons carved on the 
feet of a beautiful console in gilded wood now in Fontaine- 
bleau, which M. Champeaux attributes to the epoch of 
Louis XIV., but which I would rather give to the Regency; 
Chinese is the dragon which forms the bronze crosspiece 
that decorates the shelf of a mantel-piece designed by Blon- 
del; Chinese is the dragon decorating a console d* applique 
in gilded wood in the collection of M. Hoentschel; and, 
finally, I think no one would question the origin of the two 
exquisite handles of bronze which Cressent has placed on 
the commode in the Wallace Collection. These examples, 
which could be multiplied, will serve to show that if the 
style rocaille applied to a period of French art which re- 
bounded through the whole of Europe is legitimate, it 
borrowed from Chinese art much of its charm and fantasy. 

" The Louis XIV. Style did not disappear completely at 



first; but it dwindled away and became more delicate, the 
swelling curves more graceful though used with less reason, 
the introduction of decorative elements that artists of the 
preceding period had not found noble enough, and the aban- 
donment of absolute symmetry greatly to the advantage of 
ornamentation but engendering always a sort of coldness 
which showed the poverty of invention. Gradually the as- 
pect of the French style was changed: the monkeys and 
grotesque personages of Claude Gillot, the espagnolettes — 
those delicate female busts with coquettish faces — that 
seem to have been taken from Watteau's compositions, give 
to French Furniture a lightness and gaiety until then un- 
known. Notwithstanding all this, old traditions were not 
forsaken; the beautiful furniture of the Eighteenth Cen- 
tury continued to give importance to the bronze mounts, ac- 
cording to the traditions of Boulle ; and the artist who was 
most in the fashion in the first part of the Eighteenth Cen- 
tury under the Regency — Charles Cressent — like all the 
ebenistes that were his contemporaries, even increased this 
taste for beautiful bronzes." ^ 

In the second period of Louis XIV., dominated by Berain, 
all the motives of ornament become more delicate and re- 
fined till the style Lojds Quatorze merges into the style 

It is to be noticed that the curve gradually appears on the 
legs of chairs and the transverse stretcher is supplanted by 
a bar. 

Jean Berain succeeded his father as draughtsman to the 
King. He is supposed to have been born about 1630. With 
his brother, Claude, the King's engraver, he issued a great 
number of designs for decorative panels, vases, candelabra 
and furniture of all forms. Molinier finds the arabesques 
of Jean Berain very closely related to those of Jacques 

^ Molinier. 

Plate XXIII 

Marquetry Writing-Desk, Chinese Designs, Queen Anne 

Period (open) 

Metropolitan Museum 

Styles and Schools 

Androuet Du Cerceau, and considers Andre Charles BouUe, 
notwithstanding his first great talent, an imitator in compo- 
sition of Berain, just as Berain is, on his part, a reflection 
of Le Brun. 

" Berain," says Mariette, " frequently gave to furniture 
ornamentation particularly appropriate for tapestry or to be 
painted on panels and ceilings ; in short, what we call gro- 
tesques. From Raphael who had so happily imagined in 
the style of the ancients what appeared to him to have a 
good effect and subjected it to his own taste, so Berain se- 
lected what would conform to the taste of the French nation 
and this idea succeeded so well that even foreigners adopted 
his style of ornamentation." 

" Mariette's expression is perfectly just," adds Molinier : 
" he reduced to the French taste the artistic heritage of the 
past used by the artists of the Louis XIV. period ; and this 
explains how it was that they created an original style that 
was soon adopted by all Europe." 

Claude Gillot (i 673-1 722) was another who prepared the 
way for the Regency. His singeries are much in the style 
of Berain; and having ignored all the serious, pompous 
magnificence of Louis XIV., they announce the joyous, 
fantastic spirit that his pupil Watteau was to carry even 
farther. The change was felt not only in the forms of 
furniture, but even in the bronze mounts and ornamentation ; 
and some of the works that came from Boulle's workshop 
also reveal the new style. The curve is timid, but it is 

The Style RefugiI: 

In 1685, the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes induced 
fifty thousand families of the best French blood, intellect and 
craftsmanship to seek voluntary exile. The Huguenots took 



refuge from the Dragonnades in England, Holland and 
Germany ; and those countries benefited by the short-sighted 
policy of a bigoted king. The goldsmiths, carvers, archi- 
tects and designers and painters among the emigrants were 
so numerous that their subsequent work became known as 
the style refugie. 

The most commanding figure in the band was Daniel 
Marot, a member of a family of French artists and a pupil 
of Lepautre, whose style he closely followed. William of 
Orange appointed Marot chief architect and minister of 
works and Marot designed many palaces and fine country 
homes, including the interior fittings, chimney-pieces, stair- 
cases, cornices, china-shelves, brackets and furniture. He 
also designed gardens. He accompanied William HI. to 
England at the Glorious Revolution; and when William 
and Mary transformed Hampton Court into a Dutch palace, 
the work was designed and supervised by Marot and Sir 
Christopher Wren. . Marot, indeed, designed most of the 
furniture, some specimens of which are still to be seen there. 
Hampton Court Palace was a perfect model of the style 
refugie. All the characteristics of Lepautre's pompous 
and massive taste are to be seen in Marot's work, together 
with the characteristic ornamentation of the Louis XIV. 
Style. His chairs and tables are supported on heavy legs 
connected by straining-rails, the seats and backs of his chairs 
and sofas are usually stuffed and upholstered; his mirror- 
frames are carved with scrolls, mascarons, shells, swags and 
chutes of the bell-flower ; the heads and arms of his caryat- 
ides and other female figures are functional as well as deco- 
rative ; his clock-cases afford models for the future Chippen- 
dale, and, occasionally, the dawning Regency Style is 

Marot was extremely prolific, too, in designing sumptu- 
ous upholstery in rich textiles for his bedsteads, chairs, 


} > > 

Plate XXIV 

High Case of Drawers, Lacquered (1730-1740) 

Metropolitan Museum 

Styles and Schools 

screens, curtains and lambrequins. He made a great use of 

Marot's designs for rooms show the limit to which porce- 
lain could be used as a decorative feature. In every possible 
place he introduced a bracket — over the doors, by the sides 
of the chimney-piece, and over the windows, he always has 
a little ledge for the support of a vase, a jar, or a cup. The 
chimney-piece, with its shelves, is particularly the show place 
for the valued Oriental curios. Some of his plates show 
brackets and shelves that support as many as three hundred 
articles, — all of which are so arranged as to belong to the 
scheme of decoration. It is not strange, therefore, to find 
evidences of the " Chinese taste " among his designs. 

The mirror on Plate XXVII. is in the Marot Style. Here 
we have a square frame of walnut or some dark wood with 
gilded border and gilded ornaments. The pediment is of 
the graceful swan-neck, and between the scrolls is carved a 
cartouche. Another interesting piece of the period (see 
Plate XXVIII. ), is a " show-table," dating from the time of 
William and Mary. The glass case is intended for the ex- 
hibition of curios. The stand is ornamented in the character- 
istic style of the day. The legs are decorated with the bell- 
flower and are connected by typical stretchers. 

Marot worked through the short reign of Queen Anne 
( 1 702-1 714). He died in 1718, four years after Her Ma- 
jesty. Louis XIV. died in 171 5. Therefore the Queen ^' ^ 
Anne Style may be described as a transitional one, partak- ^ /^«>ax^" 
ing of the characteristics of the late Louis XIV. and theC Cu^/^/"^^ 
dawn of the Regency. / 

Was it not a Marot room that Addison had in mind when 
he described a Lady's Library in 171 1 ? 

" At the end of her Folios (which were very finely bound 
and gilt) were great jars of china, placed one above another 
in a very noble piece of architecture. The Quartos were sep- 



arated from the Octavos by a Pile of smaller Vessels which 
rose in a delightful Pyramid. The Octavos were bounded 
by Ten Dishes of all shapes, colours and sizes, which were so 
disposed on a wooden Frame that they looked like one con- 
tinued Pillar, indented with the finest Strokes of Sculpture 
and stained with the greatest variety of Dyes. That part of 
the Library which was designed for the Reception of Plays 
and Pamphlets and other loose Papers, was enclosed in a 
kind of Square consisting of one of the prettiest grotesque 
Works that I ever saw, and made up of Scaramouches, 
Lions, Monkeys, Mandarins, Trees, Shells and a thousand 
other odd Figures in China Ware." 

Among the other French exponents of the style refugie 
in England the names of Samuel Gribelin and J. B. Mon- 
noyer should be mentioned. 

During the long reign of Louis XIV. all the Stuart styles 
pass before us in England and her colonies. The Age of 
Oak is succeeded by the Age of Walnut. Mahogany begins 
its career ; and new styles came in from the Low Countries, 
especially with William and Mary. 

During the Seventeenth Century, the tendency of Dutch 
furniture was to break away from the heavy carved oak 
chairs and tables and massive bedsteads and constantly to 
become lighter in form, turnery supplanting carving in the 
posts of bedsteads and in the supports of tables, chairs and 
cabinets. A style of furniture now came into favor, par- 
ticularly with the well-to-do middle class, that lasted half 
through the Eighteenth Century. A typical piece appears 
on Plate XXIX. The chest-of -drawers at first stood upon 
spindle legs connected by stretchers; and as time wore on 
upon the form of leg shown in the " high boy " on Plate 
XXIV. This early form of cabriole leg with the hoof foot 
was, in turn, succeeded by the cabriole leg with the claw-and- 
ball foot as shown in the two chairs on Plate XXX. These 








= 3 


<L *" 



^^ ^' 


rf n 












C:. ?s^ 


Styles and Schools 

are the starting point of a great family of chairs — those 
designated " crown-back " and " Hogarth " have no difficulty 
in showing their parentage. A little later in the century the 
jar-shaped splat was variously carved and pierced, the top 
rail variously waved and the feet terminated in the bird's 
claw clasping a ball which the Chinese say is taken from their 
dragon holding a pearl. This brings us to the so-called 
" Chippendale chair," which is conspicuously absent from 
Chippendale's book. 

Louis XV. Style 

The long reign of Louis XV. is broken into two periods, 
— the Regency and the Louis Qxiinze proper. In the first, 
grace, fancy and 
caprice are charm- 
ingly united. The 
the monkey and 
motives taken 
from, or suggested, 
by Chinese and 
Japanese screens 
and jars, vases and 
fans were beautifully and ingeniously worked up by Gillot, 
Watteau, Huet and others. The two chief designers of the 
Regency and Louis XV. Style were Gilles Marie Oppenordt 
(1672- 1 742) who became architect for the Regent in 171 5, 
and Charles Cressent (i 685-1 768). Oppenordt influenced 
Cressent with regard to general design and form, though 
Cressent remained closely linked all his life — which was 
unusually long — to the period of Louis XIV. It is sup- 
posed that he was a direct pupil of the famous Boulle ; and 
in many respects he is a follower of that great master, — 




particularly in his great affection for the beautiful bronzes 
applied to the decoration of furniture, appreciating the 
splendid relief they give to the form and the great richness 
of decoration they bestow upon the surface. 

Cressent was much influenced by the styles of Claude 
Gillot and Watteau, who were also infatuated with le style 
chinois. Cressent always remained true to himself; and 
although progressive — he was always seeking for lighter 
and more varied forms — he was one of those artists who 
retarded in interior decoration the new Classic style (des- 
tined to be known as the style Louis Seise) that had 
dawned and was already influencing architecture. 

The artist in whom style rocaille reached its greatest de- 
velopment was Juste Aurele Meissonnier (1695-1750), a 
native of Turin and a pupil of Boromini. When he crossed 
the Alps, the style rocaille^ which originated in Italy, was 
already general in France; and Meissonnier was not the 
only one to push the fashion. 

" He developed a style which was of Italian origin and 
very ancient, and the genesis of which was very compli- 
cated. This was already greatly advanced when Meisson- 
nier arrived in France. He codified and strengthened these 
elements, thanks to his supple and charming genius, and to 
his talents as an architect; and he should not be held re- 
sponsible for all the follies and weaknesses of his successors. 
However, it is certainly evident that around Meissonnier 
and two or three others — true masters of this genre — 
that a whole style of furniture and a whole system of deco- 
ration that held undisputed sway in France until about 
1750 should be grouped." ^ 

Meissonnier was an architect, an ebeniste and a goldsmith. 
In his plates, which were chiefly engraved by Huquier, he 
gives plans and elevations for buildings and designs for 

* Molinier. 





Styles and Schools 

furniture, lustres, candelabra, surtouts for the table, scissors, 
sword handles, knobs for canes and many studies for 
vegetables and foliage. The canape for the Count Bielenski 
and the salon furniture for the Princess Czartoryska are 
especially famous. 

" The great Meissonnier had studied in Italy, and con- 
sequently was not one of us," says a writer of the day, " but 
as he had wisely preferred the taste of the Boromini to the 
w^earisome antique taste, he had thereby come closer to us; 
for Boromini rendered the same service to Italy that we have 
to France by introducing there an architecture gay and in- 
dependent of all those rules that were anciently called good 
taste. Meissonnier began by destroying all the straight 
lines that were used of old ; he curved the cornices and made 
them bulge in every way; he curved them above and 
below, before and behind, gave curves to everything, even 
to the mouldings that seemed least susceptible of them; he 
invented contrasts, — that is to say, he banished symmetry, 
and made no two sides of the panels alike. Indeed these 
two sides seem to be trying to see which can deviate most 
and most strangely from the straight line." ^ 

After the death of Meissonnier, Antoine Sebastian Slodtz 
(about 1 694-1 726), son of an Antwerp sculptor, be- 
came chief designer to the King. Slodtz had worked in Ver- 
sailles and married the daughter of Domenico Cuffi. It was 
natural, therefore, that the many sons of this marriage 
should inherit artistic talent. Some became painters, some 
sculptors and some were successively designers to the King. 
They are supposed to have worked together, had great in- 
fluence on the styles of the day ; and executed many pieces 
for royal palaces. They were followers of Meissonnier. 

A large cabinet for medals and the encoignures now in the 
Bibliotheque Nationale, shows these brothers at their best. 




These pieces were made by the cabinet-makers Gaudreaux, 
or Gaudereaux, and Joubert, respectively. The encoigmtres 
are particularly fine. 

We now come to Jacques Caffieri, the fifth son of the 
Caffieri in the employ of Louis XIV., " sctdpteur, fondeur 
et ciseleur du roi," whose work was distinguished by grace 
and aristocratic elegance. Caffieri seems to have directed 
the making of a great deal of cabinet-work, and he made a 
great deal of bronze work for CEben. 

" Some critics, struck with the comparative soberness of 
the earlier works of Jacques Caffieri, in which he seems to 
be an admirer of Robert de Cotte, and with the unbridled 
imagination of his later productions, in which he greatly 
exceeds the audacity even of Meissonnier, 
have conceived the idea that the latter may 
be attributed to Philippe and may have 
been produced during the seven years that 
he survived his father. It is perhaps un- 
necessary to go so far for an explanation 
that is founded on no document. The 
Italian birth of the ebeniste of Louis 
XIV. is quite enough to account for the 
eagerness with which Jacques Caffieri 
took up the style rocaille, which gave full scope to his ex- 
traordinary dexterity. In the end, he used completely to 
cover over the furniture he produced with brass decorations ; 
his beautiful commode in the Wallace Collection is of an 
almost austere simplicity compared with the bureau in black 
lacquer of the Ministere de la Justice, the drawers of which 
are disguised in a complicated casing of copper, whilst the 
supports down to the very feet are nothing but drooping 
masses of flowers; or still more compared with the famous 
table with a set of pigeon-holes owned by the Metternich 
family of Vienna surmounted by a perfect pyramid of rocks 



Plate XXVII 

Mahogany and Gilt Mirror. Marot Style 

Metropolitan Museum 

Styles and Schools 

and figures and with complicated supports without any 
wood in them at all. It would be impossible to go further 
in this direction ; the art of Caffieri was the culminating 
effect, the final flare-up of the lavish style of decoration 
encouraged by the patronage of Louis XIV. and Madame 
de Pompadour, which charms in spite of its complicated 
extravagance." ^ 

M. de Champeaux has discovered that there were two 
ebenistes of the name of (Eben — Jean Frangois and Simon 
— that both were probably ebenistes du roi; that the 
QEbens were from Flanders or Germany; and, like Riese- 
ner, belonged to a little colony of German artisans who were 
attracted by the Austrian Queen and who settled in the 
Faubourg Saint-Antoine. 

CEben was a pupil of Boulle and devoted himself chiefly to 
marquetry-work. His assistants, Caflieri and Duplessis, 
executed the metal ornaments. CEben's work was greatly 
liked by Madame de Pompadour. He died about 1756, and 
his widow married his foreman Jean Henri Riesener. CEben 
was responsible for the magnificent bureau du roi, which 
was finished by Riesener (see page 145). 

Among the other designers and cabinet-makers, we may 
cite Nicholas Pineau, whose ornate pieces were often made 
by J. Dubois, Nicholas Petit, L. Boudin, Pierre Pionnier, 
Etienne Levasseur, the Migeons (father and son) and Sul- 
pice, Loriot and Arnoult, famous for the mechanical de- 
vices they added to their tables, chairs, etc. 

Nor must we forget the splendid lacquer- work of the 
Martin family. The Martins perfected a varnish so beauti- 
ful and so much like Oriental work that even Voltaire 
remarked : 

"Et ces cabinets ou Martin 
A sur passe Vart de la Chine.^* 
^ Andr6 Saglio. 


One of the Martins received more than 10,000 livres for 
his work in the Cabinet de la Dauphine; and some of the 
magnificent bouUe-work which Louis XIV. had had exe- 
cuted for his son was destroyed to make room for decora- 
tions in the Martin style on a green background. 

In 1756 Martin worked in Versailles and was ordered by 
the King to paint Madame Victoire's room. The style was 
so much to the taste of Madame de Pompadour that she 
employed him at the Chateau de Bellevue under a salary 
and the long list of lacquered works that he produced there 
included commodes, bureaux, encoignures and tables. 

Soon furniture painted in the " Vernis Martin " style in 
which the whole piece was decorated instead of being merely 
ornamented with panels, became the rage. 

The Martin family was large. Robert (i 706-1 765) had 
four sons, two of whom, Jean Alexandre and Antoine Nich- 
olas, followed their father's profession. Jean Alexandre 
Martin was one of the artists who decorated the Palace of 
Sans Souci, thus carrying his style into Prussia. 

Carriages, sedan-chairs and sleighs were also decorated 
by the Martins; and, like every other piece by the Martins, 
bring enormous prices to-day. 

In the reign of Louis XV. there was a great fancy for 
silver ornamentation, as well as gilded bronze; beautiful 
silver girandoles and lustres were made; rock-crystal was 
also used; and the passion for the porcelain of Saxony, 
Sevres and Vincennes, as well as Oriental ware, did not 
abate in the least. Plaques were now often introduced into 
furniture. The tops of tables, commodes and bureaux were 
fitted with slabs of rare and beautifully colored marbles, as 
in the preceding reign ; the chairs and sofas were covered in 
exquisite Gobelins, Beauvais and Aubusson tapestry; hand- 
some mirrors adorned the panelled walls above the console- 
tables; the window-curtains were cut and hung in spirited 


■ mmmmmmmm i,- 


Show-Table. William and Mary 
Metropolitan Museum 

Styles and Schools 

and charming folds, and gathered up into choux or knots; 
and colors were lighter and gayer than in the days of Louis 
XIV. Rich and heavy reds, greens and blues gave place to 
pale yellow, rose, delicate green and light blue. 

On Plate XXXI. typical examples of this period are 
shown. The beautiful encoignure of black and gold lacquer, 
or rather gold figures on a black background, is signed J. 
Dubois. The chutes, leaf -shoes and frames of the panels of 
floral and rocaille designs are bronze. A Louis XVI. clock 
stands on the marble top. 

The lady's table on the same plate is a dainty work of 
colored marquetry and ivory, forming pretty pictures that 
decorate all four sides. One of the three drawers is fitted 
up as a desk. A shelf between the legs is another conven- 
ience. The chutes and feet are of bronze and the open-work 
rails are copper. 

The chair shown on Plate XXXII. reveals the Louis XV. 
Style at its height. The curves are graceful and the frame 
is not excessively decorated. This piece, which is in the 
Metropolitan Museum, is covered with tapestry. 

The Chippendale Style 

Recent research has shown that there were three Thomas 
Chippendales. The first was a carver and picture-frame 
maker of Worcester at the end of the Seventeenth Century. 
His son, Thomas, the great Chippendale, was born in 
Worcester; and the father and the son settled in London 
about 1727. The latter became an eminent cabinet-maker 
and carver and in 1 753 was established in St. Martin's Lane. 
In the next year the Gentleman and Cabinet-maker's Director 
was published. A second edition was published in 1759; 
and a third,, in 1761, containing his famous designs for 
household furniture. In 1760, Chippendale was elected a 




member of the Society of Arts, whose members included Sir 
Joshua Reynolds, Edward Gibbon, David Garrick, Horace 
Walpole and John Wilkes. Thomas Chippendale 11. died 
in 1799 and left four children, one of whom was a third 
Thomas, who also became a cabinet-maker and went into 
partnership with Thomas Haig. The firm of Chippendale 
and Haig lasted from 1779 until 1785. 

In 1 814, Thomas Chippendale HI. 
opened a shop in the Haymarket and prac- 
tically continued his father's business. 
Like his father, he was also a member of 
the Society of Arts. Chippendale III. did 
a great deal of work at Raynham Hall, 
Norfolk, in 1818-1819. He was also a 
.. painter and exhibited some pictures at the 
Royal Academy. 
Returning to the second Chippendale, an authority says: 
" His book of designs attracted much attention, the public 
appreciated his work and seems to have bought largely, but 
the true greatness of his productions was not recognized 
until nearly a century after his death. It is a curious fact 
that the greater portion of the furniture bearing the impress 
of his genius, or known to have been designed and made in 
his shops, is not illustrated in any of the three editions of the 
Director. The elegant ball-and-claw foot which is seen so 
constantly in connection with his chairs and tables is con- 
spicuous by its absence, nor does this design appear in any 
of the illustrated works published by his contemporaries. 
Furniture is now made for the most part in large factories, 
machinery taking the place of the skilled craftsman. De- 
signers leave to others the execution of their ideas. 

" There is much difference of opinion whether Chippendale 
was the first to introduce into England the style which bears 
his name, or was simply one of the craftsmen who best 


Plate XXIX 

Chest of Drawers on Stand. Anglo-Dutch 

Metropolitan Museum 


Styles and Schools 

succeeded in crystallizing and putting into concrete form 
the floating ideas fashionable at the time. Furniture of a 
specific school, known as Chippendale was executed all over 
the kingdom during a great part of the Eighteenth Century. 
A similar type of decoration was adopted by silversmiths, 
potters and engravers, and the English designs were widely 
imitated by contemporary craftsmen, both in our American 
and other colonies. In Ireland, also, much beautiful work 
was produced during the Chippendale period, and though 
no doubt based on the designs of the London makers, the 
Irish style of carving showed marked individuality. On the 
whole, it was heavier in design than the English and had a 
flatter surface." ^ 

The plates in Chippendale's book are in three styles : the 
Louis XV., the Gothic, and the Chinese. He was a marvel- 
lous carver and revelled in all the ornaments of fancy. We 
find the Chinese mandarin, pagoda, umbrella canopy with 
bells, monkey's head, long-tailed, long-billed bird, shell, fret, 
endive leaves, rams' heads holding swags of leaves, squirrel, 
mascaron, spiky thorn, lions' heads, the serpent among 
flowers, subjects from ^sop and Grecian mythology, dolphin, 
wyvern, cocatrice, attributes of music, war, hunting, the 
bull's head, the caduceus and the C, which some people per- 
sistently say is his initial, when it is only the scroll of the 
Louis XV. period, a return of the old ear-motive (see 
page 2i^)' The carver's greatest skill was lavished on mirror 
and picture frames, girandoles, pier-tables and brackets; 
his china-shelves and cabinets received great attention and 
his open-work chairs are as highly valued to-day as any 
of the Eighteenth Century, The designs in his book were 
chiefly intended to be carved and gilded or japanned and 
lacquered. He seldom mentions mahogany. Chippendale 
made great use of drapery, and designed elaborate festoons 

* Constance Simon. 



and intricate mechanical devices for manipulating his cur- 
tains. Some of his furniture, which is labelled "French 
chair," or " sofa," he shamelessly took from Meissonnier, 
from whose books of design he appropriated bell-flowers, 
icicles, dripping water, cascades, leaves, feathers, shell-work 
and spiky thorns. As Matthias Darly, who engraved most 
of Chippendale's plates, lived much in Paris, the admirers of 
Chippendale may pin the thefts upon him, if they like. 

Matthias Darly (or Darley) was a great friend of Chip- 
pendale's, and some critics think he had a very large share in 
Chippendale's designs. Darly formed a partnership with 
Edwards, and, with the latter, issued A New Book of 
Chinese Designs in 1 754. At a later period Darly followed 
the classical taste as exemplified by the Adams and Pergolesi. 
Others of the Chippendale School are Ince and May hew, 
who, with their sons, continued in business until 181 2, 
Thomas Johnson, Robert Mainwaring (famous for his ele- 
gant "Chinese Chairs"), Matthias Lock and H. Copland. 

Two characteristic Chippendale pieces appear on Plates 
XXXIII. and XXXIV. The first is an arm-chair of ex- 
traordinary size and the second a sofa or triple-back settee. 

In the first, the jar-shaped splat is pierced and carved 
with scrolls and foliage. The side supports are cut into flut- 
ing and piping, and the wavy top rail has reversed scrolls 
and foliage. The arms curve out boldly, ending in lions' 
heads and manes and foliage on the supports. The seat, 
which measures two feet nine inches in front, is slightly ser- 
pentine in front and the rail is carved with foliage and shell 
work which is carried round the sides. The cabriole leg ends 
in lions' feet and a mascaron issues from the foliage on the 
knee. The seat is covered with old English embroidery of 
large flowers and foliage in colored wools on linen. 

The open-back mahogany sofa, or settee, of unusual de- 
sign, has a three-chair back. The central panel, where a bird 


o 9 


;;■ c 

3 O 

c p 
3 :;• 



Styles and Schools 

sits among the entwined ribbons on the oak-tfranch, is carved 
differefl;ly from the others. Ribbons, leaves and oak-apples 
and the reversed C-scrolls form the rest of the decoration. 
The old crown-back is also suggested in the central back. 
The other two backs exhibit an intricate combination of rib- 
bons, scrolls and foliage, and the top is wavy. The arms 
curve slightly outward and end in dragons' 
heads. The front rail of the seat is curved 
in festoons with shells at intervals among the 
foliage and a big mascaron in the centre. 
Richly carved cabriole legs with acanthus 
leaves and berries for ornamentation end in 

1- > «• r~^ • ^ • r t 1 CHAIR-BACK BY 

lions feet. Opposite the spring of the knee chippendale, 
is a reversed scroll. The two back legs end ^'^^^ 
in the simple ball-and-claw foot. The covering is old Eng- 
lish needlework representing large flowers in colored silks 
on a purple background. Tift whole piece is remarkably 
ornate and remarkably beautiful. It was once in the Dean 

Louis XVI. Style 

Towards the end of the Louis XV. period, the general 
outlines of furniture become less carved and the straight 
line gradually asserts itself. Indeed, as early as 1760 some 
very straight, severe and heavy models appear, particularly 
those of Delafosse, and ultra-classic tendencies begin to 

The general effect of Louis XVI. furniture lies in the 
almost exclusive use of the straight line. The curves that 
were so characteristic of the Louis XV. period gradually 
disappear, the rounded corners give place to the sharp 
angles and the curved, swelling leg becomes straight. The 
function of each part is plainly indicated; for instance, a 



foot IS no longer concealed beneath a leafy scroll: it is a 
foot plainly seen ; a drawer, or a door, is plainly incficated ; 
and the handles that in the last period issued from dragons' 
tails, wings of birds, or spiky leaves, are banished for knobs, 
rings and rosettes. The construction of Louis XV. furniture 
was conceived from the point of view of the cabinet-maker 
and worker in wood; on the other hand, the Louis XVL 
furniture follows the design of classic architecture — every 
object is separated into three distinct parts ; and these differ- 
ent parts are outlined plainly with mouldings, headings and 
other ornamental motives that are never found in the age 
of Louis XV. 

Ornaments of the style of Louis XV. died hard, how- 
ever; and we constantly find them upon pieces of furni- 
ture that show a very high development of the style Louis 

Many different causes contributed towards a change of 
style. About 1748, the excavations at Pompeii and Her- 
culaneum (discovered in 1719) were begun. Caylus pub- 
lished his Recueil d'antiquites 1 752-1 762; and Winckel- 
mann his works on Greek art in 1754 and 1764. Another 
contributory influence was the publication of Piranesi's 
drawings of Etruscan, Egyptian, Greek and Roman 

" Piranesi's work inspired many a founder, for example 
Thomire. As for the Egyptian Style, it is an error to believe 
that it originated in France after the expedition to Egypt. 
After this event, it is only just to note that it returned in 
favor; but towards the end of the reign of Louis XV. and 
during that of Louis XVI. this style flourished under the 
hands of the French artists. Gouthiere chiseled figures in 
the Egyptian style for the Due d'Aumont. The collections 
of antiquity engraved and published in France were quite 
sufficient to account for the flowering of a style, the dry and 









Styles and Schools 

straight lines of which frame so well the strange idea that it 
was all developed from Greek and Roman art." ^ 

The taste for the antique quickly took root, and was 
greatly favored by Madame de Pompadour. 

The decorations and furnishings of Madame Du Barry's 
Pavilion de Loiiveciennes, moreover, were entirely in the 
new taste, — so much so, in fact, that modern criticism is 
sometimes disposed to call what has so long been called the 
style Marie Antoinette, the style Du Barry. 

Gouthiere, doreur et ciseleur du roi, worked here, and 
many of the charming pieces in the Jones Collection in the 
South Kensington Museum, give an idea of what was pro- 
duced at Louveciennes. Jean Frangois Leleu was another 
who worked for Madame Du Barry. 

During this period the designers were fortunate in having 
such skilful artisans as Dugourc, Cauvat, Prieur, Forty, Car- 
lin and Riesener to realize their compositions. 

Many of the designers who became identified with the 
Louis XVI. Style had published works in the reign of Louis 
XV. One of these is Neufforge, a native of Liege. Among 
his productions are tables, commodes, sofas, cabinets, buffets, 
armoires, clocks, and consoles. Some of the designs are 
in the style Louis Quinze; but his works afford a com- 
plete view of the exterior and interior decoration of the 
style Louis Seize. 

Another famous designer who overlaps the periods is 
Delafosse, who designed every kind of furniture and orna- 
ment, trophies and pastoral attributes, as well as ornamental 
devices in which musical instruments figure and attributes 
of painting, hunting, fishing, etc., etc. His sofas, chairs, 
beds, couches and settees are all in the newest taste of the 
day, so much so in fact that he is regarded as one of the lead- 
ing exponents of the Louis XVI. Style. The " genre de la 




Fosse " is often used to designate both his productions and 
those of his followers. 

Boucher, the son of the famous painter, was also a deco- 
rator whose designs for rooms and furniture give a correct 
idea of the Louis XVL Style. 

The artist in whose work we can best follow the evolution 
of the general lines of the furniture of this part of the 
Eighteenth Century is Jean Henri Riesener (173 5- 1806). 
One great interest in Riesener's furniture is that it exhibits 
the transition between the two styles of Louis XV. and 
Louis XVL 

Riesener's great forte was marquetry-work. Many 
models were furnished him by Jacques Gondouin (1737- 
181 8), the architect and pupil of Blondel, who was a great 
lover of the Greco-Roman style. Gondouin was a designer 
for the furniture for royal residences. Riesener worked in 
both styles — the old and the new ; and as Riesener did not 
die until 1806, he made a great deal of furniture. His most 
famous work was the Bureau de Louis XV. which he signed, 
but which was really begun by CEben. It is a cylinder desk 
in the shape that was new in those days, and it is decorated 
with magnificent marquetry and flowers and trophies of 
poetry and war. The splendid bronzes that adorn it, long 
attributed to Philippe Caffieri, were designed by Duplessis 
and Winant and were made by Hervieux. They include two 
bronze figures, Apollo and Calliope, who hold girandoles 
with two branches, a clock with figures of children, bas- 
reliefs and other ornaments. Riesener signed the work and 
dated it 1769 ''a I'Arsenal a Paris." This is now in the 

Charles Saunier (made a master in 1752), was a con- 
temporary of Riesener, and worked until the Revolution. 
He followed the styles of Riesener and Leleu. 

The most fashionable ebeniste in the reign of Louis XVI. 


Plate XXXII 

Louis XV. Arm-Chair 
Metropolitan Museum 


Styles and Schools 

was Martin Carlin, many of whose works are now in the 
Louvre. On account of his charming and dainty work and 
the delicacy of his profiles, Carlin is the embodiment of the 
" style de la Reine." Carlin accomplished for Marie Antoi- 
nette what Gouthiere had accomplished for Madame Du 
Barry. Jean Pafrat acquired fame by working with Carlin. 
Cabinet-makers made a great many pieces from the designs 
of Ranson, whose sofas, beds, 
ottomans, and seats of all kinds 
were in the newest style. Ranson 
was famous for his draped beds. 
He liked flowers and pastoral 
trophies and looped garlands and 
ribbons gracefully around a group 
of shepherds' hats, crooks, spades, trowels, and bird-cages. 
Garlands of roses among which birds bill and coo, or a 
quiver of arrows is hidden, often decorate the round or oval 
forms of his chairs. 

De Lalonde's designs were especially popular. He con- 
sidered nothing too trivial for his pencil, for among the 
plates of his thirteen books on furniture there are many locks 
and knobs for doors and rosettes for ceilings side by side 
with commodes, sofas, bookcases, chairs, beds, etc., etc. 
Many of De Lalonde's models were made for Trianon and 
Fontainebleau. De Lalonde shows all the popular motives of 
the day. He is particularly fond of the grooved leg, the leg 
bound with ribbons, the quiver, the lyre, the garland, the 
urn, the burning-torch and the ribbon. During the Direc- 
toire period, he slavishly followed the fashion and then 
merges into the Empire Style. 

Nowhere is the style Louis Seize better shown than in the 
designs by Lequeu, whose beds look strange to our eyes with 
their columns formed of bunches of javelins and head- 
boards decorated with quivers full of arrows at each corner. 



Lequeu is also addicted to thin vases with busts of Homer, 
Cicero or 'Socrates, festooned with garlands, and he likes 
the burning-torch. His sofas, smothered in drapery with 
festoons around their crown-shaped domes or canopies, are 
strikingly like Sheraton's. 

Plate XXXV. shows two arm-chairs of the Louis XVI. 
Style at its height, before any influence of the Empire is felt. 
In Etienne Levasseur, the coming Empire Style asserts 
itself strongly. He- created furniture in mahogany, sur- 
mounted by a gallery of open-work bronze, and bureaux and 
commodes in the form of a lower part of an armoire. His 
pieces greatly resemble those that were made in England at 
the end of the Eighteenth Century. Another ebeniste in 
whom the new Empire Style is strong, and who was the fav- 
orite at Court is Guillaume Benneman, who, with the aid of 
Thomire (a pupil of Gouthiere), made probably the most 
important furniture ordered during the reign of Louis XVI. 

The commode on Plate XXXVI. is an excellent example'' 
of late Louis XVI. It is of mahogany with three rows 
of drawers, the first row directly under the white marble 
slab adorned with a delicate frieze of bronze. The bronze 
handles of the drawers are also finely chiselled, as are also 
the locks and mouldings. The sides are grooved. The work 
is signed G. Benneman. 

Upon the top stand two candelabra of bronze and white 
marble, the three lights being held by Cupids. These are of 
the same period. The statuette of Ganymede on the eagle 
]^ith Jupiter 's'thunderbolts in his hand is of an earlier date. 

Benneman was particularly fond of mahogany and his 
heavy pieces — some of his enormous commodes, etc., would 
be positively hideous were it not for the beautiful brass- work 
adorning them. Benneman's style is well exhibited in the 
two buffets in the Louvre, bearing the monogram of Marie 
Antoinette, and in the great commode in the same gallery, 


Chippendale Arm-Chair 

Styles and Schools 

supported by lions' feet and ornamented in the centre with 
two cooing doves in a garland of flowers, above a Cupid's 
bow. Like Benneman, Joseph Stockel was a German, who 
also liked heavy forms. These two men form the next link 
in the development of style from De Lalonde. 

Molinier considers the continued heaviness the fault of 
the Germans. He says : " Instead of aiding in its normal 
development and introducing into it new elements of vitality, 
the German ebenistes, of which Paris was full, stifled the 
growth of French furniture and the native artists had not 
the time fully to assimilate what the foreigners brought with 
them. The result was a very strange style, heavy in form, 
and in which very little of the true French taste of charm 
and elegance is to be found. Among the host of German 
artists we may note Schlichtig, Charles Richter, Gaspard 
Schneider, Bergeman, Feuerstein, Frost, Schmitz, J. F. 
Schwerdferger, and, greatest of all, Adam Weisweiller and 
David Roentgen." 

Weisweiller made many pieces of extreme lightness and 
grace often adorned with Sevres plaques. Roentgen was 
famous for his splendid marquetry in light colors and the 
mechanical devices he added to his furniture. The use of 
beautiful tapestry characterized this reign and delicate silks 
in which the feather was a favorite device. The great use 
of the stripe was also characteristic, and in the days of the 
Direcioire it became a passion. 

The Adam Style 

Turning back to England, we may note that the taste was / 
changing in the days of Chippendale's great fame; and it 
is not unlikely that furniture was even sent from his shop 
in the Adam taste. In Harewood House, the residence of 
the Earl of Harewood, many original bills and documents 



show that Chippendale worked there with and under Robert 
Adam. Much of the furniture still in existence was made 
by him and in the Adam Style, though occasionally a piece is 
found in his favorite rococo manner. In this house Rose, 
Zucchi, Rebecci and Collins were also employed ; but Robert 
Adam was the decorative architect. Harewood House with 
this amazing combination, presents the best exhibition of the 
transition, between the rocaille as practised in England and 
the neo-classic style of the Adams. 

Just as the French were tiring of the rocaille, so in Eng- 
land taste rebelled against what, for want of a better name, 
we may call the '' Chippendale Style." To the architects 
Robert and James Adam, the change of style must be largely 
attributed. Attracted by old Roman architecture Robert 
Adam went to Nimes in 1754; to Rome in 1756; and, with 
the French architect, Clerisseau, to Dalmatia in 1757. The 
remains of Diocletian's Palace at Spalatro gave him the 
models he wanted ; and of this Palace he published a descrip- 
tive work with engravings by Bartolozzi. 

In 1762, Robert Adam was appointed architect to the King ; 
and, with James, designed a great number of houses in 
London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Bath, Glasgow and elsewhere 
in the United Kingdom. 

" Most of the houses erected by Robert Adam were 
decorated and furnished from his own designs. The chim- 
ney-pieces, cornices, doors, chairs, tables, cabinets, mirrors, 
the wall-papers, chair-coverings, door-knockers — even once 
for the King, a counterpane — appear in his designs. No 
part of the house and nothing in its contents was too insig- 
nificant to be included in his sketches. Everything was 
carried out in the same style, a style which combined 
comfort with elegance. 

" There is no doubt that Robert was greatly helped in 
his decorative work by Michele Angelo Pergolesi, who came 



H " 


Styles and Schools 

over with him from Italy. Angelica Kauffmann, Cipriani, 
Zucchi, and Columbani also painted plaques and ornamental 
designs of many kinds. A great deal of ' Adam ' decorative 
work is wrongly attributed to Angelica Kauffmann." 

The lines of the furniture became more architectural than 
under the Chippendale period; and the ornaments sug- 
gested by the antique consist of festoons of husks or bell- 
flowers, thin swags of drapery, stars, medallions, 
rosettes, bulls' and rams' heads, wreaths, cupids, 
grifiins, sphinxes, lozenge-shaped panels, knots 
of ribbon, caryatides, Greek, Roman or Etruscan 
vases and a radiating ornament such as a fan or 
the rising sun. " Plaques on which classical sub- 
jects were depicted by well-known decorative 
artists of the day were frequently used for the 
ornamentation of Adam furniture. Figure sub- 
jects were also inlaid and so delicately executed 
that at a short distance they appear to be paint- 
ings. Satin-wood was introduced into England 
from the East Indies about this period and added pole-screen 
a new note of color to houses where mahogany 
or gilded furniture had so long reigned supreme. At first 
the new wood was mainly used for inlaying purposes. 
Adam is supposed to have employed Capitsoldi as well as 
other Italian and French metal workers for the making of 
gilt-bronze mountings. Occasionally the work was fine and 
delicate, but as a general rule metal ornaments on English 
furniture were not equal either in color, design, or execu- 
tion to those of Gouthiere and Caffieri in France." ^ 

There is very little Adam furniture in existence. An 
Adam pier, or console-table, appears, however, on Plate 
XXXVII. , of inlaid satin-wood and mahogany. The balus- 
ter and tapering, fluted legs are gilt, the frieze consists 
^ Constance Simon. 




of a band of pendant leaf-cups and trumpet ornament in 
beaded tongue outline, and the central decoration consists 
of an oblong panel of inlaid satin-wood, mahogany, and tulip 
wood painted with a medallion head in grisaille wreathed 
with laurel and festooned with a row of pink roses tied with 
blue ribbons. The semi-circular top is finely painted in rich 
colors with swags of flowers alternating with cameo medal- 
lion heads in grisaille, suspended from knots of blue ribbon. 
In the centre is an oblong panel with Phoebus in grisaille, in 
borders of arabesque foliage in orange and grisaille. The 
border of the top is inlaid with a scalloped band painted with 
festoons of drapery and trophies. The whole is trimmed 
with a narrow band of tulip-wood. 

The Heppelwhite Style 

The next style of importance is Heppelwhite that lasted 
from about 1785 to 1795. It seems that A. Heppelwhite 
and Co. stands for Alice Heppelwhite, the widow of George 
Heppelwhite, who soon after his death (about 1786) issued 
The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide, which passed 
through three editions (1788, 1789 and 1794). 

ple^aince and utility were the watchwords of this school ; 
and it is notabte'that the firm did not claim to have origi- 
nated their designs. In the Preface the Heppelwhites say 
" Our judgment was called forth in selecting some patterns 
as were most likely to be of general use, and in exhibiting 
such fashions as were necessary to answer the end proposed 
and convey a just idea of English taste in furniture for 

Heppelwhite furniture was made in mahogany or painted 
and japanned (a very different process from the lacquers of 
Vernis Martin). Heppelwhite was fond of inlaying and 
also carving. Perhaps of all his furniture, his chairs are 



•% ^ 



^ < 

P >-H 



5S ^ 

c J". 


3 ^ 

Styles and Schools 

the most famous; but his sideboards are much valued and 
his girandoles and mirror-frames are noted for their grace 
and delicacy. Many of Heppelwhite's tables contain me- 
chanical devices, which at this date were so popular in 
France, and which Sheraton was going to take up. Heppel- 
white was devoted to the straight leg with the " spade " 
foot ; u:!ts the bell-flower in swags or chutes; the shell ; the 
draped urn ; the lotus ; and the three feathers of the Prince 
of Wales. He also likes the festoon and tassel in drapery, 
and the stripe is his favorite seat covering, which shows that 
he was quite abreast of the French fads and fancies. 

All of the Heppel white characteristics are shown in the 
desk on Plate XXXVIII. and the chair on Plate XL. The 
desk, it will be noted, has his favorite inlaid urn in the 
central door, his tambour-shutter that mysteriously disap- 
pears when pushed aside, his spade foot and his general air 
of lightness. The handsome mahogany chair has a shield 
back carved with the lotus and bell-flower. 

Thomas Shearer 

Thomas Shearer's plates are contained in the first two 
editions of the Cabinet-Maker's London Book of Prices and 
Designs (1778 and 1793), intended principally for the use 
of the trade. 

" Shearer, however, had his limits, and they are strongly 
marked. No contemporary designer, not everii Sheraton at 
his best, can be held to have surpassed him in the combina- 
tion of daintiness and simplicity; but he was far behind 
both Sheraton and Heppelwhite in the application of the 
more florid form of ornament. What he possibly may 
have considered his chef d'oeuvre is a sideboard, the first of 
its kind (so far as dated designs go) to be really a side- 
board and not a sideboard table with drawers introduced, 



It may or may not have been the first attempt to combine a 
sideboard table and the pedestals and vases which went with 
it into one article, but it is certainly first as regards date of 
publication. Its interest, however, is more historical than 
artistic. It effectually disposes of the idea that we owe the 
sideboard proper to Sheraton " ^ 

The sideboard on Plate LVI gives, like many of the de- 
signs of the period, two separate suggestions for patterns. 
Even the knife-cases that stand on the pedestals are equipped 
with different handles, so that the man who orders his fur- 
niture made can select exactly what pleases him. It is a 
typical specimen of Shearer at his best. 

Shearer was also strong in tables. His style, generally 
speaking, resembles Heppelwhite, and Sheraton admired 
him so much that much of his style is founded on this some- 
what neglected man. 

The Sheraton Style 

y- Thomas Sheraton covers two periods — that of Louis 

S XVI. and the Empire, and consequently all the character- 

/ istics of each are found in his work. He seems to have 

followed the French taste very closely; but instead of 

using Sevres plaques in his commodes y etc., he inserted 

compositions by Wedgwood. He restricted the use of 

mahogany to the dining-room, library, and bed-room; and 

for chairs with carved backs. His drawing-room furniture 

was white and gold; rosewood; satin-wood; or wood 

painted and japanned. Silk or satin designed with oval 

medallions or pretty stripes were used for the coverings 

of his seats. The cabinet, the commode and the secretary 

received much attention from his hands, and he designed 

most elaborate beds, draperies and dressing-tables. The 

» R. S. Clouston. 










Styles and Schools 

latter were often provided with tambour-shutters and in- 
genious devices for concealing mirrors and other toilet 
appliances. Pretty articles for ladies attracted his atten- 
tion, and his combinations of work-table and writing-table, 
with tambour-shutters, or bags, are marvels of compactness 
and convenience. The cellaret sideboard was much de- 
veloped by him and also such small articles as knife-cases, 
dumb-waiters and supper-trays received attention. In 
short, everything that the man of wealth, or his wife, or 
the butler within his gates could desire are found in his 
books. Sheraton used a great deal of brass orna- 
ment, in the way of handles, key-plates, claw-feet 
and rails, and also in the form of beading and thin 
lines of inlay. The lyre, the bell-flower, the fes- 
toon, or swag, the urn, the patera (the latter used 
to hide the joining of chair-frames and screws 

.,,,>, ,.. . TT« CHAIR-BACK 

of the bed) are his favorite ornaments. His byshera- 
chair leg is often reeded or turned. One of his ^^^' ^^^^ 
great accomplishments lay in veneering with satin-wood. 
Sheraton kept up with the taste of the day and condescend- 
ingly said that Chippendale's designs were " possessed of 
great merit according to the times in which they were exe- 
cuted " but were now *' wholly antiquated and laid aside." 

No one would imagine that the designs in The Cabinet- 
Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing-Book, published in 1791, 
and those in The Cabinet Dictionary and Sheraton's Ency- 
clopaedia, published in 1803 and in 1806-07, came from the 
same hand. The Empire influence is seen at its worst in 
many instances in the two latter ; and instead of being some- 
what redeemed by the fine bronze work of the French, the 
ornaments were carved in wood and gilded or colored in 
bronze green. Sheraton must have tried to please all tastes,, 
for side by side with these abominations some very at- 
tractive models are to be seen. 



The chair on Plate X]^ belongs to Sheraton's early 
period and is a splendid example of his work. Here the 
central splat consists of the draped urn. The open square 
back is of beautiful proportions. This chair and its com- 
panion are in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. 

On Plate XLL appears a Sheraton cabinet, which also 
belongs to his early period and is made of rich materials 
harmoniously brought together. Perhaps it would be better 
to classify it as a commode. 

This piece is 6 feet 8^ inches long and of satin-wood, 
tulip-wood, hare-wood and painted panels. The central 
door, inlaid with trellis and rosette design, contains an oval 
panel of the Three Graces adorning a statue of Pan in a 
landscape. This was painted by Angelica Kauffmann. The 
sides are concave and are decorated with panels inlaid with 
vases of flowers in colored woods. The frieze, legs and 
feet are enriched with finely chased ornaments of or moiilu, 
festoons of flowers attached to circular bosses, paterae 
mounts at the angles, and rosette and reeded and ribbon 
borders. The feet are or moulu representing acanthus foli- 
age. The top is decorated with twelve circular medallions 
representing classical female figures painted by Angelica 
Kauffmann, encircled by two rows of inlaid husks; and 
above a semi-circular design of shells and husks in col- 
ored woods, brightened with mother-of-pearl, completes the 

The chairs on Plate XLII. belong to Sheraton's later 
period and are the parents of the " Fancy Chair " that 
became popular at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century. 
These chairs have cane seats and the backs a rectangular 
panel of open trellis and rosette design in the centre. The top 
rail is painted. The turned baluster legs are also painted but 
in grisaille. A suite of this kind usually consisted of six 
chairs, two arm-chairs and a settee with quadruple back. 



Adam Console-Table and Top 

Styles and Schools 

The Empire Style 

Very little of the furniture of the Old Regime would 
have survived the French Revolution had not the National 
Convention appointed a Commission of leaders in art 
to determine what objects should be preserved. The painter 
David and the cabinet-maker Riesener, served on this com- 

" Farewell to marquetry and Boulle," the people cried ; 
" farewell to ribbons, festoons and rosettes of gilded bronze. \ 
The hour has come when everything must be made to 
harmonize with circumstances." 

Every new piece of furniture was designed in sympathy | 
with the politics of the day. There was a return to old] 
Greek forms for chairs and couches ; sacrificial altars were' 
used for ladies' work-tables; and the beds were called 
" Patriotic," for the posts were formed of lances and upon 
the top of each was placed the Phrygian cap of liberty. 
Antique heads of helmeted soldiers and winged victories 
were omnipresent. 

The short-lived Directoire Style merged in- 
sensibly into the Empire Style. The Empire was 
proclaimed May i8, 1804; but the Style had 
long been on its way. Bonaparte's expedition to 
Syria and Egypt in 1796 naturally rendered the 
sphynx and other Egyptian motives popular; 
but they were not new to France. 

On Napoleon's appointment as First Consul 
in 1799, when it was necessary for him to have 
certain palaces re-decorated, nothing was thought more ap- 
propriate than the newly developing style that was destined 
to receive the name " Empire." 

Percier was responsible for the designs of the furniture. 



CHAIR, 1793 


He followed the styles that the painter David had made 
the fashion; and the greater number of his designs were 
made by Jacob Desmalter, who is generally referred to as 
Jacob. The only charm and brilliancy of the sumptuous 
examples of the day are owing to their bronze-gilt ornamen- 
tations, and these fine decorations were made by Thomire. 
Many of them are very beautiful, representing figures, floral 
devices and classic ornaments. 

Among other cabinet-makers who worked under the 
direction of Percier, and who were assisted by Thomire for 
the bronze sculpture and mounts, were : F. J. Pabst, Simon 
Mansion, J. P. Louis, J. A. Bruns, Marcion, and Lemar- 
chand. It may be also noted that when Percier and Fon- 
taine gathered together all their scattered plates and pub- 
lished their book on Empire Furniture in 1809, the Style 
had been nearly ten years in vogue. 

Of course, the Style spread; for wherever Napoleon's 
brothers established a court they carried the new fur- 
niture with them. Even Joseph Bonaparte brought some 
splendid suites to America to furnish his home, Point 
Breeze, in New Jersey. 

The imitators, who followed the heavy models of pier- 
tables, console-tables, sideboards, beds, chairs and sofas, 
deprived them of their brilliant ornamentation; and fur- 
niture grew ever heavier as the Nineteenth Century 

The Empire Style was in high favor for about twenty 
years, and to-day it has its admirers. Many modern critics 
decry it, however. Thus Molinier writes : 

"Only one thing allows us to pardon the furniture of 
the First Empire for its incoherence of form and decoration, 
and that is the excessive conscientiousness that presides 
over its execution: from a technical point of view the 
cabinet-work and the bronze-work are irreproachable. But 



Heppelwhite Desk with Tambour Shutters 
Metropolitan Museum 

Styles and Schools 

at this point we should stop the eulogies that have been 
given too long to what may be called a caricature of the 
French style in the second half of the Eighteenth Cen- 

The form of the Empire furniture is cubic and rectan- 
gular. The carved figure of a swan often occurs on the arms 
of chairs, sofas, and sides of the beds. The enormous 
scroll is also much in evidence. 

The Empire Style was not known by that name at the 
time it flourished : it was generally called the " Antique," 
and this was divided into separate classes : — Egyptian, 
Greek and Roman. Percier and Fontaine headed the school 
in Paris; but the man who did the most to popularize the 
taste for ancient design in London was Thomas Hope 
(called Anastasius). His Household Furniture, which 
completely revolutionized taste in England, appeared in 
1805. The designs of Percier and Fontaine were not pub- 
lished until 1809. Hope had travelled extensively in the 
Levant, and was an enthusiastic admirer of " Egyptian 
Roman " design. He met with much ridicule, but had a big 
following. Another authority of the day was George Smith, 
who was " Upholsterer Extraordinary " to the Prince of 
Wales. In 1808 he published a book of designs that were 
frankly taken from the new French furniture fashions. 
His observations on the woods in use are interesting: 

" Mahogany, when used in houses of consequence, should 
be confined to the parlor and the bedchamber floors. In 
furniture for these apartments the less inlay of other woods, 
the more chaste will be the style of work. If the wood be 
of a fine, compact and bright quality, the ornaments may 
be carved clean in the mahogany. Where it may be re- 
quisite to make out panelling by an inlay of lines, let those 
lines be of brass or ebony. In the drawing-rooms, boudoirs, 
anterooms, East and West India satin-woods, rosewood, 



tulip- wood, and the other varieties of woods brought from 
the East, may be used; with satin and Hght colored woods 
the decorations may be of ebony or rosewood; with rose- 
wood let the decorations be or motilu, and the inlay of brass. 

Bronze metal, though some- 
times used with satin-wood, 
has a cold and poor effect; it 
suits better on gilt work, and 
will answer well enough on 

On Plate XLIII. appear two chairs of the Empire Style : 
one French and the other English. 

In 1806 we read in a fashion paper that there has been 
a change in interior decoration, " a style of furniture drawn 
from the florid Ionic " being substituted for the Egyptian. 
Movables of domestic use are now " designed after the 
purest Grecian taste." The writer goes on to explain that 
"a more grand and beautiful outline is adopted in the 
shape of each piece of furniture," and that "all mahogany 
furniture is now divested of inlaid ornaments. Chairs, 
sofas, tables, etc., used in drawing-rooms are all covered 
with gold or a mixture of bronze and gold." In the fol- 
lowing year we learn that chairs and sofas are made after 
drawings from the antique in rosewood and gold, mahogany 
and gold, or black and gold, and that the windows are 
draped in the Grecian and Roman style, and that antique 
and Grecian lamps in bronze and or moulu are suspended 
from the centres of rooms or alcoves, while antique cande- 
labra, with branches for many candles, stand on the rose- 
wood and gold pier-tables and the chimney-pieces. 

An English fashion paper, in 1807, mentions that 
" Antique candelabras, rosewood and gold pier-tables and 
the chimney-pieces, are most adapted to receive lights on 
which are introduced bronze and or moulu figures, etc., with 






a. X 


Styles and Schools 

branches to receive wax candles. The antique and Grecian 
lamps in bronze and or moulu are also suspended in the 
centre of rooms or alcoves. Window curtains of chintz, 
with Roman and antique draperies, and silk fringes, etc., 
to correspond, are truly elegant. Chairs and sofas still 
continue from drawings after the antique, in rosewood 
and gold, mahogany and gold, or black and gold." 

Another fashion in the early days of the Nineteenth 
Century, which was much liked in this country, was a taste 
for the light " Fancy Chair " and " Fancy 
Sofa," which accorded well with the taste for 
straw matting, window-blinds, etc. In 1802 
and 1803, straw matting, silk curtains, window- 
blinds and chinaware frequently come to New 
York from Canton. For instance, in 1803, 
King and Talbot, 14 Crane Wharf, receive 
" printed calicoes and chintzes, 950 Chinese 
chair bottoms, 100 boxes China ware, and 30 "fancy chair," 
bundles of window-blinds." Checquered and '^'° 

straw-colored floor mats and Nankin mats and India hearth 
rugs and India straw^ matting are imported in 1803 and 
1806; and " green window-blinds from China," " straw car- 
peting " and India straw matting come in 1809. ^^ 1807, we 
also hear of India, Brussels and English rugs of Egyptian 
and Grecian figures and " Brussels and Venetian carpeting 
of different widths of the newest fashion in the Grecian and 
Egyptian style." 

The New York newspapers contain many advertisements 
of Grecian, Roman and Etruscan sofas, chairs and lamps; 
and it seems that many people of fashion abolished their 
handsome old ball-and-claw foot mahogany furniture for 
the art nouvean of the day, just as they destroyed their 
old trees to make place for avenues of Lombardy poplars. 
Washington Irving notes this in his Salmagundi: 



" Style has ruined the peace and harmony of many a 
worthy household; for no sooner do they set up for style, 
but instantly all the honest, old comfortable sans ceremonie 
furniture is discarded, and you stalk cautiously about 
amongst the uncomfortable splendor of Grecian chairs, 
Etruscan tables, Turkey carpets, and Etruscan vases. This 
vast improvement in furniture demands an increase in the 
domestic establishment, and a family that once required 
two or three servants for convenience now employ half a 
dozen for style." 

In 1809, a decorator notes that " bronze still prevails 
as a g-round-work for chairs, etc., and will always be classic 
when delicately and sparingly assisted with gold ornaments. 
A great deal of black has been used in chairs, etc., but 
the appearance is harsh and the contrast too violent to be 
appreciated by genuine and correct taste; its cheapness can 
alone make its use tolerable." 

" Gothic," as then understood, began to assert itself about 
i8io, but does not seem to have become popular until after 
181 3, when a writer pleads for it, noting meanwhile that 
" in our own time the French style gave way to the Roman 
and that to the Greek; and then the Persian and the 
Egyptian were brought forward " but " failed to supersede 
those chaste models of harmony and truth." 

As it made its way, decorators recognized it, as will be 
seen in the following dictum in 181 7 of one who thinks that 
" Every part of the furniture in a room should accord, as 
few things are so disgusting to the eye of taste as the incon- 
gruous mixture which is often seen, even in expensively 
furnished houses, where the Grecian and Gothic, the Roman 
and the Chinese styles are absurdly jumbled together." 

The rise of the new Gothic taste is interestingly accounted 
for by a writer in Ackermann's Repository in 181 9, who 
describes some new designs for furniture. It is interesting 







Styles and Schools 

to see what he calls " Gothic," and how he traces its de- 
velopment. As far as he is concerned, the Chippendale 
" Gothic " never had an existence. He writes : 

" The annexed examples are of the unsystemised art, 
which is often called Gothic, but which should properly be 
termed Tedeschi, or old German, being of the style which 
was substituted for the Greek and Roman forms of the 
purer ages. The Italians, to designate this perversion of 
art, called every departure from the genuine models by 
the name of Gothic, although widely differing from the 
style adopted by the Saxons and Goths ; and left it to later 
times to give names to each particular style that the feeling 
and genius of any people might cultivate. 

" The style of furniture exhibited prevailed in the man- 
sions of the first rank in Germany in the Fifteenth Century; 
and although a purer taste has succeeded from the high cul- 
tivation of art in that country, yet its fitness and corre- 
spondence to some of our own ancient buildings render 
the annexed examples of genuine Tedeschi furniture very 

There was a gr^;^j[2^.4^^^^^^^^^^j^m':^^ this period. 
The draped sofa remamed in fashion, and the fashion 
papers publish new designs for curtains in nearly every 
issue. In 1816, one of them says: 

" Perhaps no furniture is more decorative and gr aceful 
than that of which draperies form a c'onsiderable part; the 
easy disposition of the folds of curtains and other hangings, 
the sweep of the lines composing their forms, and the har- 
monious combinations of their colors, produced a charm 
that brought them into high repute, but eventually occasioned 
their use in so liberal a degree as in many instances to have 
clothed up the ornamented walls, and in others they 
have been substituted entirely for their more genuine decora- 
tions, by which the rooms obtained the air of a mercer's or 



a draper's shop in full display of its merchandise, rather 
than the well imagined and correctly designed apartment 
of a British edifice: indeed, to so great an excess was this 
system of ornamental finishing by draperies carried, that 
it became the usual observation of a celebrated amateur in 
this way, that he would be quite satisfied if a well-propor- 
tioned barn was provided, and would in a week convert 
it, by such means, into a drawing-room of the first style 
and fashion. So long as novelty favored the application, 
this redundance was tolerated; but time has brought the 
uses of these draperies to their proper office of conforming 
to the original design, consisting of those architectural com- 
binations that possess a far greater beauty, dignity and 
variety than draperies are capable of affording." 

Another writes in the same year: 

"In fashions as in manners it sometimes happens that 
one extreme immediately usurps the place of the others with- 
out regarding their intervening degrees of approximation. 
For the precise in dress the French have adopted the dis- 
habille; and it has been applied to their articles of furniture 
in many instances, giving to them an air which the amateurs 
term the neglige. In the annexed plate the design of a lit 
de repos, or sofa bed, has a peculiar character of unaffected 
ease, and is not without its full claims to elegance. The 
sofa is of the usual construction, and the draperies are 
thrown over a sceptre rod, projecting from the walls of the 
apartment : they are of silk as is the courte-pointe also." 

A suite of draperies for a bow window in 1819 " are 
fancifully suspended from carved devices relating to vint- 
age and the splendors of the year; indicative of which, 
the central ornament is a golden peacock, whose displayed 
plumage being delicately colored in parts so as to imitate 
the richness of its nature, the effect is considerably increased. 
The swags are arranged with an easy lightness and the fes- 

) > 5 > ^ ' ' ' 'l 

Plate XLI 
Sheraton Dwarf Cabinet and Top 

Styles and Schools 

toons with unusual variety of style and form; they 
are comprised of light blue silk and lined with pink 

Mr. Stafford of Bath gives, in 1819, " an elegant drapery 
of light green silk and pink taffetas linings ; the sub-curtains 
are of clear muslin. The festoon draperies are supported by 
the eagle of Jupiter embracing the thunderbolt by arrows 
which have pierced the wall and by termini of foliages: 
these draperies are decorated by an embossed applique border 
which forms double rows upon the festoons and divides 
the curtains from the extreme supports over which it falls, 
as if suspended by them; the curtains are also bordered by 
a silk open fringe." 

In 1820, Mr. Stafford designs some curtains that he de- 
scribes as "playful swags of blue relieved by buff sub- 
curtains." Beneath them hang long white " under curtains." 
A " Paladian window," also of his invention, is draped in 
blue and lilac silk and taffetas with gilt carved supports, 
gold-colored lines, tassels, fringes and trimming and white 
transparent under curtains. The leading drapery is blue. 

During the Restoration of 
the Monarchy, which lasted 
from 181 5 to 1830, a distress- 
ing amount of fine old furni- 
ture was destroyed to make 
way for the cumbrous and "^ m^ridienne. 1820 
heavy models that followed the 

general style of the Empire, with sabre legs and scrolled 
arms and feet and general heaviness. This period of ma- 
hogany and rosewood was succeeded by the " comfortable " 
period, when the seats consisted solely of upholstery and 
showed no wood-work. The soft-tufted sofas, easy-chairs, 
tete-a-tete pouf and home are still within the memory of the 
present generation and are constantly met with in out-of- 



the-way and old-fashioned hotels, on both sides of the 

Simultaneously with the craze for upholstered furniture, 
French cabinet-makers had been trying to revive old types 
and models. Gothic forms and ornamentation were revived 
and then the Renaissance held its sway for a time. The 
artisans copied badly, but even bad copies helped the taste; 
and about 1850, excellent furniture, particularly chairs and 
sofas were made in the style Louis XV. and the style Louis 
XV L The strange jumble that followed the Empire is 
sometimes referred to as the style troubadour. 

A revival of the Louis XV. scrolls and curves, but with 
less character and restraint than the original, also took 
place and finally what is known as baroque ^ or de- 
based rococo took the field, when ornaments were prolifi- 
cally used for the sake of display rather than for appropriate 

From 1830 to 1850, fine arts were a passion in France, 
as well as a fashion. The wealthy collected paintings, and 
those in moderate circumstances followed suit; then, from 
1840 to i860 music reigned supreme, and no drawing-room 
was considered furnished without a piano. 

After that period the rage for general collecting began, 
and houses were filled with curios of all kinds. The cabi- 
net and the series of shelves known as the Stag ere descended 
into comparatively plain homes. 

Of late years the return to good styles of old periods 
has been far more marked than the support of Vart 

Side by side with debased Empire forms, in England, 

* The word baroque, which became a generic term, was derived from the 
Portuguese "barrocco," meaning a large irregular-shaped pearl. At first a 
jeweller's technical term, it came later, like "rococo," to be used to describe 
the kind of ornament which prevailed in design of the Nineteenth Century, 
after the disappearance of the Classic. (Litchfield.) 



n >< 


Styles and Schools 

we find so-called " Gothic " furniture in fashion pub- 
lications, such as Ackermann's. Most of this was very 
poor stuff, from an artistic point of view. There was 
great improvement after 1835, when the famous archi- 
tect, A. W. Pugin, published his Designs in Gothic 

There was probably no period so dull and deathlike in 
furniture as the half century following the Empire. The 
best work that European cabinet-makers could produce, as 
shown in the Great Exhibition of 1851, reveals how the 
mighty had fallen;, and the English display was very pitiful. 
During this period household furniture was made princi- 
pally of mahogany, and rosewood, and the dining-room and 
sitting-room pieces were heavy and generally ugly. Great 
sideboards with mirrors let into the back; tomblike desks; 
console-tables in the form of a heavy lyre; sofas with enor- 
mous scrolls and with horsehair covering; chairs with the 
sabre leg; Trafalgar chairs; enormous bookcases; pillar- 
and-claw dining-tables ; tripod tables with marble slabs ; and 
French bedsteads with heavy foot and headboards of the 
same size are the favorite forms of the Victorian age. It 
seems incredible that furniture of the Chippendale, Heppel- 
white and early Sheraton periods should have been turned 
out of old homes for mahogany worked into such clumsy 
and repulsive forms — furniture which frequently masquer- 
ades to-day under the name of " Colonial," and which ac- 
cords with what M. Molinier aptly describes as " the horrible 
simplicity of prison architecture." 

As a matter of fact, there was no distinctive style at this 
period : everything was a jumble. Describing York House, 
which had just been magnificently furnished in 1841, a 
writer says: "The furniture generally is >[ no particular 
style, but, on the whole, there is to be found a mingling of 
everything, in the best manner of the best epochs of taste." 



One change was noticeable, however, in the ottoman, 
couches and cattseuses: " Some of them, in place of plain or 
carved rosewood or mahogany, are ornamented in white 
enamel, with classic subjects in bas-relief of perfect 
execution " a critic notes. 

Papier mache was used in the manufacture of many arti- 
cles of furniture, and was very popular about the middle of 
the century. It had long been known, but came into favor 
about 1825, when we read: 

" A different style of decoration has lately been intro- 
duced from France by the manufacture of a composition of 
paper into every species of ornament, whether for the walls 
of an apartment or interior decoration in general. This 
species of manufacture has been called papier mache, which 
in fact is nothing more than paper reduced to paste, and 
then forced into moulds of the form required. In this in- 
stance we now excel our inventive neighl)ors in the execu- 
tior of the same article; the English manufacture being 
more durable as well as more imitative of real carved work, 
from its sharpness of edge and depth in cast. But with re- 
spect to the elegance and phantasy of design in paper decora- 
tion, the French offer patterns very far superior to all 

Reviewing the furniture of the period, Litchfield says : 

" Large mirrors, with gilt frames, held the places of 
honor on the marble chimney-piece, and on the console, or 
pier-table, which was also of gilt stucco, with a marble slab. 
The chiffonier, with its shelves and scroll supports like an 
elaborate S, and a mirror at the back, with a scrolled frame, 
was a favorite article of furniture. 

" Carpets were badly designed, and loud and vulgar in 
9ol(/ring; chairs, on account of the shape and ornament in 
vogue, were unfitted for their purpose, on account- of the 
wood being cut across the grain ; the fire-screen, in a catyed 






3 2 

C C C J c c 


Styles and Schools 

rosewood frame, contained the caricature, in needlework, of 
a spaniel, or a family group of the time, ugly enough to be 
in keeping with its surroundings. 

" The dining-room was sombre and heavy. The pedestal 
sideboard, with a large mirror with a scrolled frame at the 
back, had come in; the chairs were massive and ugly sur- 
vivals of the earlier reproductions of the Greek patterns, 
and though solid and substantial, the effect was neither 
cheering nor refining. 

" In the bedrooms were winged wardrobes and chests of 
drawers ; dressing-tables and washstands, with scrolled legs, 
nearly always in mahogany; the old 
four-poster had given way to the 
Arabian or French bedstead, and 
this was being gradually replaced by 
the iron or brass bedsteads, which 
came in after the * Exhibition of 
1 851' had shown people the advan- 
tages of the lightness and cleanliness 
of these materials. 

" In a word, from the early part 
of the present century, until the 
impetus given to Art by this great Exhibition had had time 
to take effect, the general taste in furnishing houses of all 
but a very few persons was at about its worst. 

" In other countries the rococo taste had also taken hold. 
France maintained a higher standard than England, and 
such figure work as was introduced into her furniture, was 
better executed, though her joinery was inferior. In Italy, 
old models of the Renaissance still served as examples for 
reproduction, but the ornament was more carelessly carved 
and the decoration less considered. Ivory inlaying was 
largely practised in Milan and Venice; mosaics of marble 
were specialties of Rome and of Florence, and were much 





used in the decoration of cabinets ; Venice was busy manu- 
facturing carved walnut-wood furniture, in buffets, cabinets, 
negro page boys elaborately painted and gilt; and carved 
mirror frames, the chief ornaments of which were cupids 
and foliage/' 











The Chest; the Armoire; the Dressoir; the Court-Cupboard; thi 
Sideboard; the Buffet; the Cabinet; the Commode; the Bureau. 

The Chest 

THE treasure chest, or area, was an important piece 
of furniture with the Romans and usually stood in 
the atrium, or hall, of the Roman house. It was 
often fixed to the floor, or against the wall, and was under 
the charge of the doorkeeper who kept the key and paid the 
housekeeping expenses from it. If not made of iron, this 
strong-box was of hard wood, strengthened with bands and 
studs of bronze or iron. Chests of this description have 
been discovered at Pompeii. 

In the predatory Dark Ages, the chest or coffer was of 
supreme importance. All classes lived an uncertain life and 
people were frequently compelled to move and to travel; 
therefore, the chest, coffer, trunk, bahut, huche, arche, or 
strong-box was a prime necessity. 

The earliest chest, or travelling trunk, of Western Europe 
was made of wicker and covered with an ox-hide; and 
sometimes the wicker case contained an inner box of 
wood. In the course of time, the wicker case was given 
up and the wooden box alone was used, and this was ren- 
dered secure with a lock and iron bands. As the chest was 
exceedingly heavy, it was provided with iron handles, or 
rings, through which a pole could be passed ; and the chest, 
thus slung from the pole, was borne on men's shoulders. 



The heaviest chests were placed on strong carts drawn by- 
oxen, and the less heavy ones on the backs of strong sumpter 
horses that were called in France chevaux hahutiers, from 
the bahut. Solidity was the first qualification; and there- 
fore the early chests were ponderous, massive, and covered 
with iron bands or straps ; but towards the end of the Middle 
Ages when the chest was used for a variety of purposes, it 
was embellished with ornaments. The arched top was 
found inconvenient when the chest became a piece of furni- 
ture rather than a travelling-box. The ordinary chest of 
this period was a long coffer that stood on four short, stout 
feet, or upon the end pieces prolonged below the front and 
back. The chest proper was therefore raised a little above 
the floor. The wood was painted, carved or gilded ; covered 
with leather, or ornamented canvas ; and made strong with 
wrought iron bands that were both decorative and useful. 

Such chests were in constant use for an infinite variety 
of purposes. They formed seats on which the merchants 
sat and sold their wares and paid and received their monies. 
In the illuminations of some manuscripts such chests are 
employed for the musicians to sit upon while they play 
their instruments to the guests in the hall, or ladies, while 
they spend their long, solitary hours working tapestry or 
embroidering. A miser also is seen to sleep upon his chest 
which contains all his worldly wealth. In fact, they formed 
an indispensable article of furniture in all the chief rooms 
of the Mediaeval house, serving, like modern safes, to keep 
gold and silver articles, jewellery, papers, books, deeds, 
parchments, wearing apparel of all kinds, as well as for the 
hangings of the rooms when not in use. Chests were often so 
constructed that they could also be used for couches and beds. 

*' In the Thirteenth Century, the ornamental iron-work 
began to be supplemented by simple carving on the wood 
itself, and the old system of covering every joint and seam 




Plate XLV 

Carved Oak Chest. Early French Renaissance (about 1500) 

English Transitional Chest (about 1500) 

Metropolitan Museum 

Chests and Cupboards 

with an iron band, so that the whole of each side presented 
a nearly plain surface, began to give place to a more sci- 
entific and less primitive mode of construction, viz., by form- 
ing the sides, ends, and flat lid into panels, and in setting 
these into a stout framework of stiles and rails. A change 
in construction led necessarily to a change also in the method 
of ornamentation, and the decoration which had formerly 
been confined to the terminations of the iron bands, painted 
leather or canvas coverings, was now followed by mouldings 
wrought on the angles of the framework, and all kinds of 
beading and incised carving. 

" In the Middle Ages, the chest-makers formed such an 
important body of artificial workmen that they divided 
themselves in most of the principal towns from the guilds of 
carpenters and formed a special guild of their own. Such 
guilds were highly favored and became powerful, their 
members attaining to the very highest skill, and besides the 
business of chest-making, they worked in ebony, ivory, and 
all kinds of precious woods, as well as in horn and shell ; in 
fact they ranked next to the gold and silversmiths amongst 
the trade guilds of the period. So much were the trunks, 
bins and chests in use as articles of furniture among all 
classes that they found it necessary to make supplementary 
laws in order to prevent them from turning out faulty 
work." ^ 

The chest appears in old wills and inventories as hyst, 
kyste, kist, kyrst, kiste, chist, chiste, cheste, cheist, ark, cof- 
fer, almery, press and casket. It is often described as 
" bound with yren," a '' bound kiste," a " spruce kist " 
(meaning a fir chest) and a "Flanders," or "Flemish," 
chest. The chest of the Low Countries was always a prized 
possession, not only in France and England, but in Spain 
and Portugal. 

1 Charles Clement Hodges. 



One of the earliest, finest and largest carved Flemish 
chests in existence is preserved in the vestry of Alnwick 
Church in England : 

" The front has the usual division of three compartments, 
two uprights and a centre piece. The uprights are each 
divided into four panels, the three uppermost of which on 
either side are carved with dragon-like monsters, some with 
wings and some without. All their tails run off into several 
branches bearing beautifully wrought leaves of various 
kinds, conspicuous among which is the trefoil in the 
uppermost right-hand panel. The lower panels are occupied 
with scrolls bearing leaves of the strawberry type. The 
centre is divided vertically into three, the upper division 
being divided into three again by the lock-plate. On either 
side of this a chase is represented, the animals facing 
towards the lock. The lower compartments each contain 
two dragons, ending in foliated branches and with foliage 
between them. The two lower dragons have human heads 
and wear jester's caps. The character of the foliage and 
the entire absence of any architectural features in the design 
of this chest, place it in the first quarter of the Fourteenth 

" Many ancient chests are still to be found in the chapter- 
houses and vestries of ancient churches, where they were 
receptacles for vestments, hangings for festival decorations 
and the preservation of archives, deeds, etc. A good ex- 
ample of the Thirteenth Century was formed of oak planks, 
two inches thick. The uprights clamping the sides are un- 
usually broad, exceeding the intervening space. Its only 
decoration is constructive, consisting of iron straps one and 
three-quarter inches wide and one-eighth of an inch thick. 
These are admirably distributed for gaining the greatest 
possible result, both from a constructive and decorative 
point of view, with the least amount of material. The two 





3 !> 







Chests and Cupboards 

bands crossing the lid also descend the back and form the 
hinges. All the bands terminate in bi foliations, and the tip 
of each bifoliation is secured with a mushroom-headed nail. 
The front is distinguished by two bands crossed which form 
the heraldic cross moline, but it is here no doubt decorative. 
The ends are furnished with chains and rings, which could 
be raised above the lid for slinging the chest on a pole." ^ 

The most famous of all Fourteenth Century chests is in 
the Cluny Museum and is represented on Plate I. (see 
page 9). About this time chests were decorated with the 
black and white inlay in geometrical designs that was known 
as certosino chiefly made in Italy and Portugal. Pictures 
in colored woods were often called tarsia (see page 11). 

It was in the beginning of the Fourteenth Century that 
the richly carved chests were introduced ; for plain chests and 
iron-bound chests were not in accord with the rich furniture 
and panelled walls with which the interiors were now 

^^ Coffers and chests of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Cen- 
turies were in most instances of fine proportions, ingenious 
in their interior arrangements and characterized by rich 
carving that reveals the various developments of Gothic 
tracery. The locks and keys were often most intricate in 
design and artistic in workmanship. 

The panels of the chests were much decorated with the 
favorite linen-fold design. 

In the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, the so-called 
" Tilting Coffers " were produced. Their dates are deter- 
mined by means of the style of armor in which the figures 
ornamenting the panels are dressed. Architectural motives 
are carved on their frames and knightly contests are repre- 
sented on their front panels. A famous example from the 
Cluny Museum appears on Plate II. (see page 10). South 
* Charles Clement Hodges. 



Kensington Museum owns a small one upon which two 
knights are tilting furiously and one in the Ypres Cathedral 
shows St. George fighting the Dragon. 

In France, the chest with the rounded top was called 
hahut and that with the flat top, huche. The chest was the 
most important piece of furniture in the house, and in it 
valuables were kept. In fact, the kings and princes of the 
Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries gave the name Garde- 
huche to the officer in charge of their table-silver, or, as we 
should call it, the silver-chest. In this, the French followed 
the precedent of the old Romans. 

The huchiers were a guild apart from the carpenters and 
made all the fine woodwork of the house — such as the doors 
and window- frames. Mattres-Huchiers-Menuisiers was the 
title Mazarin gave them in 1645. 

A favorite way of decorating chests and coffers in Italy 
in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries was known as 
gesso duro. This was a preparation of whiting mixed with 
size or glue and spread thinly and evenly over the surface 
of carved wood or modelled ornaments. The raised orna- 
ments were then painted and gilded. Gesso was also much 
used as a decoration for the Spanish chests of the Fifteenth 
Century, which are now so rare. 

The large chests used in Spain were similar to those of 
Italy and were decorated with Gothic or Renaissance carv- 
ing like the choir-stalls and ornamented with iron-work. In 
the province of Catalufia, they were inlaid with ivory in 
imitation of Florentine and Milanese work. 

Late in the Fifteenth and during the Sixteenth Century, 
Italy produced most elaborate and sumptuous coffers; and 
upon the marriage coffer, or cassone, both artists and arti- 
sans bestowed their best energies. The bride's dower was 
carried to the bridegroom's house in the cassone, which 
varied in sumptuousness according to the wealth of the 









S S 



Chests and Cupboards 

family. Some of the chests were of carved wood; some 
were inlaid; some were covered with velvet ornamented 
with richly gilt metal-work; the handsomest of all were 
painted by such celebrated artists as Andrea del Sarto. In 
fact, some of the most beautiful Italian pictures that have 
come down to the present day were originally panels for 
marriage-chests. Gozzoli's Rape of Helen in the National 
Gallery, London, is one of these. 

The marriage-chest sometimes bore the inscription " Quae 
nupta ad cerum tulit maritumJ' 

" It was in such a marriage-chest that the beautiful 
Genevra dei Benci, whose portrait exists in the fresco by 
Ghirlandaio in Sta. Maria Novella, hid while playing hide 
and seek the evening before her marriage. The cassone was 
of carved wood and the heavy lid closed upon her, snapping 
the lock fast. All search for her was in vain, and the old 
tale says that her fair fame suffered at the hands of ma- 
licious women, jealous of her exceeding beauty. Years 
afterwards, when the chest was forced open, the remains of 
the lovely Genevra were found, still, it is said, preserving 
traces of beauty, and with the peculiar scent she used still 
lingering about her long, fair hair; in her right hand she 
grasped the jewel her bridegroom had given her to fasten 
the front of her gown. In Florence the bella Genevra is 
still talked about among the common people as the ideal type 
of woman's beauty." * 

A fine example of Venetian work of the Sixteenth Cen- 
tury is the marriage-chest from the Cluny Museum, on 
Plate XLVI. The front and sides are beautifully carved 
with mythological and Biblical subjects relating to marriage, 
and ornamented with chimerical figures, mascarons and 
shields in high relief. Trophies and garlands adorn the 
frieze, and at the corners are large female figures with ex- 

1 J. Ross. 


tended wings. In the centre is the richly" framed shield. 
The human forms are carved with the utmost grace and 
delicacy. Another marriage-chest appears on Plate XLVII. 
This is of Italian workmanship and is preserved in the 

Compare these with the chest on Plate XL of the same 
period with its graceful female figures supporting the cen- 
tral shield and terminating in leafy scrolls that frame chi- 
merical beasts and birds. This fine piece of the Italian 
Renaissance is in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. 

Cuir bonilli was also much used as a covering for chests 
and coffers in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries in place 
of carving. The leather was first prepared by being steeped 
in melted wax and essential oils or spirits, and boiled ; and 
after the leather was thus prepared, it was delicately em- 
bossed and incised and painted and gilded. Sometimes, too, 
the leather was cut away and pieces of velvet or other rich 
materials were laid underneath the leather in the spaces, for 
the sake of the bright effect. Of course, the carver made 
use of the leather-straps for a motive. The cuir, variously 
cut and plaited, or interlaced, was a decoration that found 
particular favor with the Flemish. The strip of leather 
sometimes flat and sometimes rolled, was often accom- 
panied by birds, flowers, animals and fruits. (See Plate 

The coffer, or chest, of the Sixteenth Century was as a 
rule made with a flat top. The wood was oak, walnut, or 
lime. It had been the principle in decoration to divide the 
anterior into a certain number of arches ; in the second half 
of the Sixteenth Century panels took their place divided 
from one another by caryatides. Some coffers were made 
with the swelling front — especially those of small size — 
and decorated with marquetry and fine inlay work of white 
paste " a la moresqiie/' a style of decoration that was used 





Chests and Cupboards 

also for the dressoirs, armoires and chairs by the huchiers 
of Lyons. 

In the Sixteenth Century the chest in the Low Countries 
was decorated with panels carved with subjects from the 
Bible, Greek myths, allegorical subjects, architectural mo- 
tives, arabesques, pilaf^'ers in the form of terms, mascarons, 
fluted columns and -.aiches filled with figures. Flemish 
chests were in great demand in France, England and across 
the Pyrenees. 

The chest was always found in the Dutch home in the 
Seventeenth Century. One or two large chests invariably 
stood in each bedroom and in these both linen and clothing 
were kept. Many Dutch chests were made of lignum- vitae 
or sacredaan fastened with brass or silver locks and hinges. 
The Dutch chest was generally neatly lined with linen. One 
reason that the yellow sacredaan was a favorite wood for 
chests was because its sweet, strong odor was hateful to 

The word coffre was also used in France to describe the 
wooden case, ordinarily covered with ornamental leather, 
fastened with large silver-headed nails, and also those made 
of various kinds of wood variously decorated. Coffres de 
Chypre were ornamented with mother-of-pearl inlay and 
were often very rich; those termed a la neapolitaine were 
of ivory marquetry on a background of walnut. Those of 
Flanders were, as a rule, strengthened with metal bands, or 

The smaller chests, coffers and caskets varied much in 
shape and material and were made in gold, silver, ivory, 
mother-of-pearl, and were variously carved, ornamented 
with precious stones, or chased, or enamelled on copper. 
They were used for locking up jewels and other small valu- 
ables. Handsome dressing-boxes were also made in this 



For the sake of greater convenience, the chest was placed 
on a frame that rested on short, square legs, or flattened ball 
feet. The next development consisted of one long drawer, 
or two short drawers, below the chest proper. As more 
drawers were added to the simple box or trunk, the original 
chest became extended into a chest-of -drawers, a nest-of- 
drawers, a case-of -drawers, a chest-with-drawers, a press, a 
cupboard-press, a chest-upon-chest. The simple chest is, 
therefore, the parent of many pieces of furniture, and often 
appears almost in its original form in unexpected places. 
Chippendale's clothes-presses are made, for example, on the 
old model. 

" The clothes-presses which Chippendale gave us are 
somewhat reminiscent in outline of the old Spanish dower- 
chests ; they were used to store clothes, linen, curtains, and 
so on; but judging by their rarity, we may safely assume 
that they did not come into great favor. They rested on 
deep feet or short legs, approximately one third of the whole 
design in pitch. The carcase would be sometimes square, 
at other times hombe in form, but it seldom displays the 
amount of garnishment we should expect to find on it after 
a perusal of Chippendale's book of designs. The feet were 
linked together by a narrow frame, and upon this the body 
of the piece reposed." ^ 

The Armoire 

At first the armoire was a series of shelves built into the 
wall and closed by wooden shutters or wings. At a later 
period when the piece became separate and movable it was 
merely a chest-upon-chest, both opening in front by means 
of doors or wings. Just as the chest, placed on a stand, 
formed the cabinet, so one chest placed upon another formed 

1 Wheeler. 

Plate XLIX 
Armoire. Lyonnais. End of Sixteenth Century 

Chests and Cupboards 

the armoire. In the early period of their existence the dif- 
ference between the cabinet and armoire was not definitely 
fixed, and indeed, cabinet, armoire and buffet are often 
synonymous. It is not until the Seventeenth Century that 
these pieces first become perfectly distinct. The armoire 
seems to have been little used in civil life during the Middle 
Ages, but was greatly employed in the monastic and religious 
houses. In the cloisters, the armarium was often turned 
into a cupboard for books; and in the sacristy of the 
churches there was always a large or small armoire, fixed 
or movable, in which the prayer-books, missals, sacred ves- 
sels and holy-oil were kept. Some of these armoire s are 
still in existence. A notable one of the Thirteenth Century 
is preserved in the upper sacristy of the Bayeux Cathedral. 

It is a huge, double-storied press of oak, both floors 
being divided into seven compartments. Each of these is 
closed by a shutter, working on strap hinges, the ends of 
which terminate in fleur-de-lis. The unequal number of 
doors opening alternately dos a dos presents one of those 
curious features of irregularity so frequently introduced 
by the mediaeval architect. With the exception of some 
simple finials the armoire is destitute of carving, but it has 
been painted with monkish subjects bordered with patterns 
in black, white and red, the greater part of which have now 

Armoires of this early period are much scarcer than cof- 
fers and chests, but there is another splendid specimen of 
this same period owned by the Cathedral of Noyon. The 
doors of this are painted within and without. 

A fine armoire of the perpendicular style is preserved in 
the vestry of York Minster. 

As the art of the cabinet-maker progressed, the armoire 
became one of those pieces on which much decorative work 
was lavished; and, instead of the panels being painted, 



they were now either carved or received the characteristic 
decoration of the period — the favorite Hnen-fold. At the 
beginning of the Sixteenth Century, as the hahut gradually 
disappeared as a piece of furniture, the ar moire took its 
place; therefore, it was made in all sizes and forms and deco- 
rated in all styles as they arose. 

The splendid examples of armoires in two parts, some- 
times described as cabinets a deux corps, enrich many mu- 
seums and private collections. It is not generally known 
that these armoires were frequently lined with rich silk or 
brocade, fastened down with small nails, which set off the 
beautiful objects kept behind the doors. 

There are a few fine specimens of armoires in the 
Louvre; but Cluny owns a great number of superbly carved 
examples of this now rare type of furniture.^ 

It has been said that the armoire of the Ile-de-France 
was generally higher than it was long, and that those made 
in Burgundy and the Midi were characterized by their 
greater width. The armoires of the Ile-de-France are also 
to be recognized by their architectural effect. The slender 
upper part develops into a pyramid. It has two doors in the 
lower part and two doors in the upper part, the latter flanked 
by small columns surrounded by vine or laurel leaves. To 
Normandy, M. Molinier attributes furniture in which the 
architecture and sculpture remain characteristic of the Ile- 
de-France but which is enriched with incrustations of ebony, 
generally in relief ; and he cites a very fine armoire that be- 
longed to the Emile Gavet Collection, which he thinks marks 
the period when the ebeniste succeeded to the huchier in 
making furniture. 

The model of the Ile-de-France was imitated elsewhere, 
particularly in Lyons, where such large armoires a deux 
corps were made that they were frequently called buffets. 
One of Lyonnais workmanship on Plate XLIX. follows the 


Plate L 

Seventeenth Century Kas, or Armoire, from South Germany 
Metropolitan Museum 

c V , ; f 

Chests and Cupboards 

traditions of the Ile-de-France in its form and ornamenta- 
tion. The panels represent the Annunciation, the Nativity 
and the Adoration of the Magi. 

In Languedoc, the huchiers were under the influence 
both the Ile-de-France and Burgundy; in other words, the 
style created by Jean Goujon and Du Cerceau was united 
in a sort of fashion by Hugues Sambin. The Burgundians 
inspired the artists of the Midi; — and so, upon this form 
of furniture, as in so many others, the sign and seal of 
various provinces and artists have been set. 

Some of Boulle's most famous pieces were armoires; the 
Duke of Hamilton owned two magnificent specimens which 
were companion pieces ; and the example in the Jones Col- 
lection, South Kensington Museum, made by Boulle for 
Louis XIV. on a model by Berain, is valued at £10,000. 

Some armoires of the Louis XV. period are beautifully 
decorated with bronze ornamentation, the broad panels and 
doors relieved by flowers, foliage and groups of children 
or monkeys swinging or playing musical instruments. 

The armoire of this period merges into the wardrobe with 
its two great doors behind which are shelves, drawers, or 
hooks for garments to hang upon. 

In the Low Countries and in Germany, the armoire was 
known as the kas, or kast, two examples of which appear on 

The great Dutch kas was very broad and very tall. It 
was made of ebony, oak, or walnut, and stood on four heavy, 
round balls, or feet, that were often called " knots." These 
were sometimes repeated on the top of the cupboard and 
called " guardians of the porcelain ornaments." The kas 
stood in nearly every room of the old Dutch house, — in 
the office, in the kitchen and in the living-room, as well 
as in the bedrooms. The kas was richly carved or inlaid, 
and made of both ordinary and rare woods. It was very 



heavy, architectural, and ornamental; and useful for pre- 
serving the choice articles of which the Dutch owned so 

Plate L. shows the type of the great kas. It is nothing 
but a huge wardrobe with drawers or shelves behind the 
two big doors, which, in the example before us, are fur- 
nished with handsome locks. Beneath these are two 
drawers. This piece of furniture stands on six round, flat- 
tened, ball feet or " knots," and is handsomely decorated 
with ornaments recalling the style of Du Cerceau and De 
Vries. It is owned by the Metropolitan Museum, New^ 
York. Plate LI., also owned by the Metropolitan Museum, 
is similar in general form. 

Upon the top of the great kas invariably stood handsome 
vases and jars of porcelain or earthenware. Some hasten 
were valued at enormous prices : a sacredaan cupboard, or 
a nutwood cupboard, or one made of different woods, or 
inlaid with mother-of-pearl, would cost as much as a thou- 
sand florins. Kas, of course, means case, which brings us 
back again to the case-of -drawers. 

To the late Seventeenth Century (about 1690) belongs 
the case-of -drawers popularly known as the ** high-boy." 
(French haut-bois.) At first, the tall chest of drawers stood 
on a frame, composed of six spindle-shaped legs connected 
by stretchers placed close to the floor. Sometimes the 
spindle-legs also terminated in lar^e balls. Three drawers 
were, as a rule, placed in the frame, while the chest con- 
tained three long drawers surmounted by two or three short 
ones below the slab. As time went on, the " high-boy " was 
placed on a low case-of-drawers that was supported on 
cabriole legs. The style came in about the time that lacquer 
was popular and both " high boy " and " low-boy " were 
made of lacquer or "painted and japanned." On Plate 
XXIV. a " high-boy " is shown and on Plate LII. a " low- 


Plate LI 

Seventeenth Century Kas, or Jrmoire, Dutch 
Metropolitan Museum 

Chests and Cupboards 

boy." Both examples are in the MetropoHtan Museum and 
both have the old hoof -foot. 

The mahogany " high-boy," decorated with brass escutch- 
eons and key-plates and surmounted by a scroll pediment 
between the break of which a china ornament was often 
placed, was a favorite piece of bedroom furniture in the 
Eighteenth Century. Some of these had ornamental tops, 
carved like the bookcases of the day (see Frontispiece). 

The low case-of -drawers, called ** low-boy," was very 
similar in form to the commode. The '* bureau " of Marie 
de' Medici (see Plate LXVII.) shows remarkable likeness to 
it also. It was a dressing-table with drawers and was 
always used for this purpose. Sometimes the lower 
part of a high-boy was also used as a dressing-table; but 
this generally has but one row of drawers, while the " low- 
boy " proper is supplied with two rows. Below the central 
drawer in the top row a fan-shaped ornament is frequently 
carved. Like the ** high-boy," the earliest examples of the 
" low-boy " are furnished with drop-handles, especially 
those made of mahogany, exhibit fine brass-handles and 
wing-shaped key-plates. 

As the century advanced, the " high-boy " became more 
decorative. A fan or other ornament was carved on the 
top drawer, and the top was decorated with a swan- 
necked pediment, in the centre of which a slender vase was 
carved. Another favorite way of ornamenting the top of 
the " high-boy " was by placing on it three steps of ma- 
hogany, on which china was arranged. Handsome brass 
handles and key-plate brightened the sombre wood (see 
Plate LIII.). 

These useful pieces of furniture, particularly popular in 
America, were made of cherry, pine and other cheap woods 
and then stained, as well as of mahogany. 

Instead of the case-of -drawers being on a stand some- 



times it was placed on a chest-of -drawers. It then becomes 
a chest-upon-chest or a double case-of-drawers. We find 
the double chest, or " high-boy," among the designs of 
Chippendale, who treats it much as the wardrobe, which 
was squarely built, or had a square top that rested upon a 
serpentine, or hombe, set of drawers. As a rule, the Chip- 
pendale high-boy has a slide fitted into the carcase, which 
is intended, when pulled out, to serve as a table for brush- 
ing and folding clothes before they are placed in the 
drawers. This slide is often mistaken for a writing-slab. 

The Dressoir 

The dressoir, chest and bed were the three indispensable 
pieces of furniture in the Middle Ages; they are found 
alike in princely homes and in the dwellings 
of the middle-class people. The dressoir is 
often wrongly called a credence, of which it 
was a development. 

The Italian word is creance, meaning 

dressoir; and credenza described in Italy in 

the Sixteenth Century as a porcelain or metal 

table service, was, by extension, used to des- 

FiFTEENTH CEN- ignate the piece of furniture on which it was 


The word credence had, however, passed into currency 
in other countries to describe a shallow cupboard supported 
on legs, and sometimes rendered still more useful by means 
of a shelf. The credence was placed near the large table 
at meal-times, covered with a cloth, and used as a serving- 
table, or sideboard. 

On Plate VIII. we have the early type. This is really 
nothing but a chest placed on legs with doors cut in the 
front panels; and this is the primitive sideboard. It is a 



Plate LII 

Low-boy, Lacquered 
Metropolitan Museum 

Chests and Cupboards 

handsome piece for its day with its carving of the 
ever-pleasing grape-and-leaf design which decorates the 
panels and the linen fold that adorns the doors. This 
piece is in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. More 
developed pieces appear on Plates LIV. and LV. 

By the Fifteenth Century it had become of greater im- 
portance, was delicately carved and frequently adorned with 
a canopy or dais. Upon its tier of shelves, pieces of hand- 
some and massive silver (and sometimes gold) were dis- 
played. At this date, the credence was placed against the 
wall and never moved. It was now a piece of furniture 
intended as much for show as utility. In short, the cre- 
dence had become a dressoir, for the dressoir makes its 
appearance at the beginning of the Fifteenth Century. On 
the shelves the handsome plate was displayed; and in the 
drawers were kept the delicacies and the linen cloths that 
were placed on the shelves during meals. From its advent, 
the dressoir was a luxurious piece of furniture, the fine 
proportions of which lent themselves to delicate and ornate 

In the castles the dressoirs were surmounted by shelves, 
the number of which was regulated by the rank of the 
owner; and on these shelves, which were covered with 
embroidered cloths, were exhibited handsome vessels of 
silver and gold, so massive and so abundant in the Fifteenth 

The form and arrangement of the dressoir, or dressoir- 
buffet that are to be seen in the miniatures of the illumin- 
ated manuscripts of the Middle Ages are very simple. It 
is little more than a chest supported on legs and supplied 
with doors having iron hinges. As luxury advanced, the 
dressoirs of the Fourteenth Century became more artistic 
in character; and the legs were grooved and carved with 
foliage and the doors were carved with tracery like the 



church windows. The iron-work of the locks and hinges 
was handsomely pierced and was set off by a background 
of red cloth. Above the shelves there rose a kind of 
baldachin, or dais, which, towards the end of the Middle 
Ages, was carved in the Flamboyant Style. The decora- 
tions of the panels were usually religious in subject; but 
the principal motive of the decoration of these dressoirs 
was the fleur-de-lis, the national emblem of France, which 
the menuisiers-huchiers always knew how to use in the most 
elegant manner by arranging it in the centre of the Gothic 
arches. The background of the lower part was generally 
a series of panels representing scrolls of parchment, half 
unrolled, — a special form of decoration used for two cen- 
turies. In the reign of Louis XL, when carving played the 
chief role in furniture, figures entered largely into the 
ornamentation of the dressoir-huffet, which, heretofore, 
had exhibited only foliage and details of architecture. At 
this period, the old French School admitted pilasters with 
arabesques and antique medallions of the Renaissance, 
though holding to the Gothic pinnacles, while the new school 
founded on the borders of the Loire by the Italian artists 
of the court, cheerfully used all the arabesques and trophies 
and forms of ornament brought over the mountains from 
Milan and Florence. 

The form of the dressoir also changed — it ceased to be 
four-square and became a trapeze. The two uprights of 
the front were cut out in such a way as to form supplemen- 
tary panels, which rested on two pillars formed like Gothic 
columns or balusters. The old French workmen habitually 
carved on the doors of these pieces the story of the An- 
nunciation, while those who fell under the Italian influence 
covered the doors and panels with a whole vegetation of 
arabesques, fleurons, and trophies of exquisite elegance. 
Moreover, it is not rare to find dressoirs in which these two 


•«6> »»«N K ^wf^ic^»w^aww»* •■« *.. 

Plate LIII 

Double Chest of Drawers, or Chest-upon-Chest, 


Metropolitan Museum 




ft E3 
C r+ 

3 ^ 


Chests and Cupboards 

styles are mingled; and it is impossible to say to which 
School they belong. After a time, the fusion was com- 
plete and the workshops of Ile-de-France, Touraine, Nor- 
mandy, Auvergne, Burgundy and Lyons produced works 
in the new style, but which were absolutely French in 
character. The work of Jean Goujon and Germain Pilon 
inspired the wood-carvers of Normandy and 1' Ile-de-France, 
while Hugues Sambin was influenced by the sculptors of 
the Rhone valley and the arabesques designed by the 
printers of Lyons. 

The dressoir, or buffet, of the Sixteenth Century dif- 
fered little in form from previous models. In some 
examples, however, both parts were open, and neither con- 
tained a cupboard ; in others, the armoire was in the lower 
part. Some of them might be compared in form to the 
modern upright piano. Magnificent carving characterizes 
the Burgundian examples as well as those of the Lyonnais 
School. The panels are frequently carved with mythological 
or classic subjects, and chimaerae or satyrs issue from the 
graceful and abundant foliage in the style of Goujon and 
Du Cerceau. 

In the museums and private collections a great number 
of dressoirs are preserved. The oldest examples, dating 
from the beginning of the Fifteenth Century, are very 
simple in their decoration. Those dating from the reign 
of Louis XI. are frequently carved with the Annunciation. 
Beautiful examples, on which sometimes the monograms of 
Louis XII. and Anne of Brittany, are seen, were made by 
the School of Touraine. Less delicately carved but 
splendid examples were produced in Germany and Flanders ; 
but perhaps the handsomest of all were made by the 
joiners of Burgundy and Lyons. 

A Burgundian dressoir is shown on Plate XII. It is made 
of carved wood, furnished with two doors and two drawers, 



and supported on a console with two pillars. The back of 
the console is carved with two cartouches, one bearing a 
coat-of-arms, and the other the date 1570. The base rests 
on flattened ball feet. The carving is elaborate, consisting 
of caryatides, foliage, palmettes and scrolls. The panel of 
the door on the left represents the Sacrifice of Abraham 
and the one on the right, the Blessing of Jacob. Above the 
one is a figure of Justice; above the other, a figure of 

The Court-Cupboard 

In England this piece of furniture was known as the 
court-cupboard and was used for the display and keeping 
of plate and other table-furniture. It was always in evi- 
dence at great entertainments; and, like the dressoir, the 
number of its shelves was regulated by etiquette. In 
France two shelves were allowed to ordinary persons ; three 
to the nobility; and four or five to royalty. In England 
two shelves were permitted in the baronet's home; three in 
an earl's; four were given to a princess; and five to a 

"The dressers of countesses should have three shelves, 
on which should be ranged dishes, pots, flagons, and large 
drinking-cups, whilst on the broadest part of the dresser 
there should be two large wax candles, to be lit when any 
one is in the room," is an old rule. 

When Henry VIII. entertained some French Ambas- 
sadors at Greenwich, he had a " cupborde seven stages high 
and thirteen feet long, set with standing cuppes, holies, flag- 
gons and great pottles all of fine golde, some garnished 
with one stone and some with other stones and pearles." 
On great occasions the court-cupboard sometimes consisted 
of as many as twelve shelves. The livery-cupboard, on the 


Plate LIV 

Seventeenth Century Carved Oak Cupboard 
Metropolitan Museum 

Chests and Cupboards 

other hand, seems to have been exclusively used for service 
and as a receptacle for food. It received its name from the 
French livrer (to deliver) ; and it always stood in the 
mediaeval banquet-hall. From it viands were served — de- 
livered. By its side stood the head-butler in ceremonious 
attitude. Upon the court-cupboard were arranged the 
plate, the cups, the ewer and basin which took the place 
of the modern fingerbowls and the big almsdish. In his 
Creed of an Epicure (1576), James Sandford says: "My 
chambers (I sayde my parlours and other romes) hangyd 
with cloth of gold, my cupboardes heades set out and 
adorned after the richest, costliest and most glorious man- 
ner, with one cuppe cock height upon another, beside the 
greate basin and ewer of silver and gold filled at tymes with 
sweete and pleasant waters.'' 

The livery-cupboard was sometimes kept in the bedrooms 
with light provisions for an impromptu meal. It was fur- 
nished with doors and locks, and the panels were often 
perforated for the sake of ventilation. In some rural dis- 
tricts in England these old cupboards are known popularly 
as " bread-and-cheese cupboards." 

The Buffet 

The dressoir, which was sufficient for the needs of the 
life of the Middle Ages, did not suffice for the luxuries 
that developed in the Seventeenth Century, and the great 
buffet took its place. At the end of the Seventeenth Cen- 
tury the dressoir disappeared. 

The buffet a deux corps was usually a massive and 
elegant piece of furniture. It may be described as two 
boxes, placed one above the other and opened by means 
of four doors, two in each part. These doors were 
carved with trophies, cartouches and chimaerae, and the 



panels separated by handsomely sculptured terms, or 

Du Cerceau and Delaune designed many of these buffets, 
the various parts of which are not always clearly defined ; 
and sometimes it is hard to tell whether they are armoires, 
buffets, or dressoirs. In searching for what was novel, 
these designers often became eccentric. However, the 
superiority of the execution often atoned for the inferiority 
of the form. 

The dressoirs by Du Cerceau are of three varieties; one 
is divided into two compartments ; another into three ; and 
the third, a chest with folding doors placed on a hollowed- 
out base or stand, and the top adorned with some architec- 
tural ornamentation. During the last period of the Sixteenth 
Century, the general heaviness increased; and the buffet- 
dressoir grew to resemble the models in favor in Germany 
and the Low Countries. They were sometimes supported 
on swelling balusters and ornamented with many columns ; 
and, after a time, carving was given up for inlaid woods. 
The colossal Flemish armoire of Vredeman de Vries was 
the favorite model. In the Seventeenth Century, however, 
the buffet took its definite shape, — a piece of furniture in 
two parts, enclosed by two doors in each, the upper part 
being slightly smaller than the lower and placed a little 
back. The armoire, on the other hand, was enclosed by two 
long wings. 

The use of the buffet-dressoir was to hold the dishes and 
dessert and table utensils. There are few dining-rooms in 
which this piece of furniture does not appear, but it was 
forced to become smaller for the smaller dining-room. In 
modern buffets, the old shelves have been restored. 

In England the court-cupboard gave way to the buffet 
towards the close of the Seventeenth Century. In 1710, 
" buffet " is described as " in a vestibule or dining-room, a 


Plate LV 

Court-Cupboard with applied Ornaments. Jacobean 
Metropolitan Museum 

Chests and Cupboards 

large table with stages in the style of a credence upon which 
are displayed the vases, basins and crystal for the service of 
the table and for magnificence. This buffet, which the 
Italians call credence, is with them usually placed in the 
great salon and closed in by a balustrade breast high." 

In England the buffet was also the little corner-cupboard 
fixed to the wall. In 1748, Dyche defines it as "A hand- 
some open cupboard or repository for plate, glasses, china, 
etc., which are put there either for ornament, or convenience 
of serving the table." 

This buffet soon went out of use for the dining-room, for, 
in 1 75 1, Chambers writes: '^ Beau fait, Buffet, or Bufet 
was anciently a little apartment separated from the rest of 
the room by slender wooden columns, for disposing china 
and glassware, etc., also called a cabinet. It is now properly 
a large table in a dining-room, called also a sideboard, for 
the plate, glasses, bottles, basins, etc., to be placed." The 
sideboard, therefore, was now nothing but a plain table, 
without drawers, or cupboards, or upper shelves. Chip- 
pendale gives designs only for what he calls sideboard- 

In France also during the first half of the Eighteenth 
Century, the sideboard was only a table, usually of stone or 
marble. In 1710, the architect D' A viler thus describes the 
buffet: " The buffet can be incrusted with marble or Port- 
land stone, or wainscotted with woodwork. It consists of 
a recess which occupies one entire side of the room; here 
you place a table of marble or stone supported on consoles, 
beneath which you may stand a small stone basin for cool- 
ing the wine bottles. On each side of the table is a deep 
niche, ornamented with aquatic attributes, such as tritons, 
dolphins and mascarons of gilded lead, which throw water 
into the little basins below, from which it escapes, as well 
as into the basin underneath the table. The back of the 



buffet is ornamented with a little gallery of consoles, above 
which is hung a picture, usually representing fruits or 
flowers, a concert of music, or other pleasant subjects." 

Again, in designing a dining-room, he says: "The 
chimney-piece faces the two windows; the angles are 
rounded, and in them I have placed niches for marble 
tables, on which can be set the silver, crystal and dessert, 
during the repast, and afterwards be put away in the closet 
next to this room." Evidently, the carved-wood dressoir, 
in all its forms and developments, has gone out of fashion. 

The buffet and the sideboard were entirely distinct during 
the Eighteenth Century. In 1803 Sheraton writes: 
" Buffet, anciently an apartment separated from the rest of 
the room by small pilasters or balusters. Their use was 
for placing china and glass-ware, with other articles of a 
similar nature. In houses of persons of distinction in 
France the buffet is in a detached room, decorated with 
pictures suitable to the use of such apartments, as fountains, 
cisterns, vases, etc. These ancient buffets seem in some 
measure superseded by the use of modern sideboards, but 
not altogether, as china is seldom, if ever, placed upon 
them, and we, therefore, think that a buffet may, with 
some propriety, be restored to modern use, and prove 
ornamental to a breakfast room, answering as the repository 
of a tea-equipage. Under this idea, we have given a design 
of one. The lower part is to be enclosed with doors, having 
silk curtains, with worked brass or wire before them. The 
upright border on the top of the lower part is of brass, 
together with those round the china shelves. These shelves 
are supported at each end by four brass columns, made 
very light. The lights on each side are of brass, and may 
be unscrewed and taken away occasionally. As these 
buffets would suit well to be placed one on each side of the 
fireplace of a breakfast-room, they might very conveniently 


J J .15 3 3 


C/3 t' 

Chests and Cupboards 

hold such branches with the addition of one on the top. 
Under the cornice is a Gothic drapery and fringe above 

The Sideboard 

Thus the cupboard, or dresser with drawers, — the 
buffet-sideboard — disappeared for a time and the side- 
board, instead of being a storing place for linen, wine, 
silver, dishes, etc., became merely a serving-table or 
carving-board. An oak sideboard in the South Kensington 
Museum, given to the period of William III., seems to in- 
dicate that the sideboard-table belongs to the Dutch period 
of English furniture. In Chippendale's day, however, even 
the drawers beneath the top were omitted. Chippendale 
made sideboard-tables and not sideboards. His earliest 
form was in the Louis Quinze Style and varied from four 
to seven feet in length. The legs were heavy and frequently 
cabriole in shape, ending in the claw-and-ball foot. The 
upper edge supporting the top was frequently carved, and 
the spring of the knee was also often carved. The acanthus 
leaf, the egg-and-tongue, the gadroon edge and shell and the 
Vitruvian scroll are the patterns usually employed. 

" The top was sometimes of mahogany, but generally con- 
sisted of a large slab of finely figured marble, occasionally 
of some coarse slate or other medium, with a veneer of fine 
marble over it. The master eschewed the use of wood be- 
cause it was liable to be marked by the hot dishes placed 
upon it. . . It is quite exceptional to find one of these 
* boards ' with a drawer or other fittings ; but now and then 
one comes across an example with a single drawer, more 
commonly a slab to pull out and increase the area upon which 
china, glass, or silver could rest." ^ 

^ Wheeler. 


Later in his career, Chippendale used Chinese fretwork 
as decoration for his serving- or side-tables, and placed 
large carved brackets at the angles where the legs joined 
the slab. Very rarely he added a low rail of wood on the 
edge of the slab next the wall. He also very often intro- 
duced some Gothic ornamentation into his Louis Quinze or 
Chinese treatment. 

Chippendale's sideboard-table differed little if at all from 
his pier-table. 

" There is considerable doubt as to the origin of the side- 
board, as we now know it. It will be remembered that the 
original sideboard was a large side-table, and in Chippen- 
dale's time, this used to be crowned with a more or less 
beautifully figured marble in order that the hot dishes and 
plates resting upon it should leave no marks. The brothers 
Adam supplemented this model by two pedestal cupboards 
which stood one at each end of the ' board,' and these were 
in turn crowned by knife-urns, or rarely by a wine-urn and 
knife-urn. Presently we find these wing additions being 
incorporated with the ' board ' ; but who was responsible 
for the new idea? It may be laid down at once that the 
brothers Adam, Heppelwhite, and Shearer were all at work 
when the change took place. Successful as the Adams had 
been with their original tables and pedestals, they were far 
from happy when the new sideboard came in. Shearer 
seems to have been the first illustrator of the complete side- 
board, and very charming examples he gave us, even though 
the majority of them were somewhat plain in quality." ^ 

Constance Simon holds Robert Adam responsible for the 
invention of the pedestal, or cellaret sideboard. She says: 
" Robert Adam's sketches for sideboards with pedestal 
cupboards, surmounted by urns, are the earliest examples 
that have come down to us of this type of furniture. It 

1 Wheeler. 

Plate LVII 
Sheraton Sideboard. Sideboard designed by Heppelwhite 

Chests and Cupboards 

is very likely that he was the first to conceive the idea of 
thus elaborating the simple serving-table of the ^earlier 
part of the Eighteenth Century. The pedestals were some- 
times fixed to the centre framework and sometimes de- 
tached. The sideboards were often fitted with a brass 
rail at the back in order to support the silver plate. The 
chief wood of which the sideboards were made was 
mahogany; the ornaments were wood inlay, carving, 
stucco and brass. Adam's dining-rooms frequently had 
a carved recess at one end with a concave vault above, and 
he then designed a sideboard with a curved back exactly to 
fit this recess." 

Heppelwhite's sideboard generally contained one long 
central drawer and a short drawer at each end, beneath 
which was a deep drawer. The legs were often ornamented 
with a fall of bell-flowers in satin-wood and terminated in 
the " spade " foot. 

Heppel white speaks as if this form were new. He 

" The great utility of this piece of furniture has procured 
it a very general reception ; and the conveniences it affords 
render a dining-room incomplete without a sideboard." In 
explaining its features he tells us that " the right hand 
drawer has partitions for wine bottles. Behind this is a 
place for cloths or napkins, occupying the whole depth of 
the drawer. 

" The drawer on the left hand has two divisions, the 
hinder one lined with green cloth to hold plate, etc., under 
a cover ; the front one is lined with lead for the convenience 
of holding water to wash glasses, etc. ; there must be a valve- 
cock or plug, at the bottom, to let off the dirty water, and 
also in the other drawer to change the water necessary to 
keep the wine, etc., cool ; or they may be made to take out. 
The long drawer in the middle is adapted for table-linen, 



etc. They are often made to fit into a recess, but the 
general custom is to make them from 5>4 to 7 feet long, 3 
feet high, and 2% to 2i^ inches wide." 

However this may be, we find Heppelwhite making side- 
boards with and without drawers, i. e., the old sideboard- 
table, pedestals and vases, which held their place on each 
side of the sideboard, and sideboards which were elaborately 
fitted up with conveniences for the butler. The vases that 
surmounted the pedestals were intended to hold iced-water 
for drinking, water for the butler's use, or they were knife- 
cases. The height of the pedestal was the same as the 
sideboard, and the pedestal was sixteen or eighteen inches 
square. The vase stood two feet, three inches. 

The vase knife-case was, as a rule, made of satin-wood, 
or of copper, painted and japanned. A small spring fixed 
to the stem supported the top of the case. 

Shearer's sideboards are somewhat lighter in general 
effect than Heppelwhite's except in the case where the 
pedestals are joined to the body of the piece. 

" Whether Shearer influenced Heppelwhite or Heppel- 
white Shearer is a question to which we are not likely to 
find a definite answer; yet as a considerable portion of 
Sheraton's style was founded on Shearer's lines, the pre- 
sumption is that if a man of such very decided personality 
was affected, Heppelwhite was no less indebted to this 
great but practically forgotten designer." ^ (See Plates 
LVI. andLVn.) 

" Cellarets," says Heppelwhite, " called also gardes de 
vin, are generally made of mahogany and hooped with brass 
hoops lacquered; the inner part is divided with partitions 
and lined with lead for bottles ; may be made of any shape. 
These are of general use where sideboards are without 

1 R. S. Clouston. 


J 3 13 

Plate LVIII 
Seventeenth Century Spanish Cabinet (Farguenos) 

Chests and Cupboards 

Sheraton informs us that they were made in the form of 
a sarcophagus and " adapted to stand under a sideboard, 
some of which have covers and others without." He thought 
it a good idea to have rings at each end of the cellaret so 
that the servants could move it about. He also wanted 
the rings, as well as the lions' feet or dolphins' heads on 
which his models rested, to be cast in brass and lacquered. 

Sheraton continued to develop the models put forth by 
Heppelwhite and Shearer, but in his later period he returned 
occasionally to the old sideboard-table without drawers. 
Sideboards of this character were ornamented with a 
little brass rail and separate pedestals with vases stood at 
each side of the table. 

In some Sheraton sideboards the pedestals were made 
separately and screwed to the sideboard, and the top slab 
was placed over all three parts and screwed down. The 
part beneath the long top drawer, curved from leg to leg, 
was supplied with a tambour-shutter, and, therefore, 
formed a little enclosed cupboard. The back of such a 
sideboard was decorated with a mirror or ornamental brass- 

Although it required most delicate workmanship, the 
square knife-case was too well known for Heppelwhite to 
describe it. He merely said : " It may be made of mahogany 
inlaid, or of satin, or of other wood at pleasure." 

Sheraton gave designs for knife-cases, both concave and 
convex. In his day a pair of these stood upon the sideboard. 
A tall vase or urn-shaped case was often made, especially 
for spoons. 

The Empire Sideboard 

In the Eighteenth Century the buffet disappeared for a 
time from fashionable houses in Paris. In his book on 



Architecture, Sobry writes : " Buffets are pieces of refectory 
furniture on which rich vases proper to feasts are displayed. 
The use of these is dying out in France, although all foreign 
nations retain it. Perhaps we shall return to it. Meanwhile 
we use low buffets, with marble tops, on which the dishes 
are placed." However, the old carved wood buffet was too 
useful a piece of furniture to be relinquished by the middle 
and lower classes. It occurs constantly in the pictures 
of Chardin and contemporary prints. De Champeaux says: 
*' The extraordinary skill of the ornament-carvers of 
the reigns of Louis XIV. and Louis XV. enabled them to 
produce buffets, the ornamentation of which recalls the 
finest woodwork of our palaces. The beauty of their 
execution makes them sought by collectors almost as eagerly 
as those pieces with copper and tortoise-shell inlay, or bronze 
applied on exotic woods. There are exceptions, however. 
The buffet generally filled the more modest role of a useful 
piece of furniture, the roomy interior of which could 
contain the dessert and table and kitchen utensils. Its 
dimensions would allow its use only in the large kitchens 
of the provinces ; and the Parisian kitchens had to be con- 
tent with buffets proportionate to their small dimensions. 
There were few dining-rooms without a buffet ; but it was 
small on account of limited space. Most often it tended to 
revert to its original form and assume the aspect of a 
dressoir. The central body has lost its isolated supports 
and rests on the ground, and it is surmounted by shelves. 
This form is repeated in mahogany, in the shops of the 
Faubourg Saint- Antoine, with an abundance that is as 
commonplace as inartistic. Another disposition that is more 
logical affects the form of a buffet-armoire the lower body of 
which serves as a base and is separate from shelves placed in 
an armoire with glass doors by an opening called the cave, in 
which the dessert is placed. Unfortunately this buffet, gen- 


Plate LIX 

Seventeenth Century Carved Ebony Secretary 

Chests and Cupboards 

erally of carved oak, makes pretensions to carving the cheap 
conditions under which it is produced do not permit it to 
justify. However, our workmen produced walnut buffets 
the execution of which is superior to the latter. Germany 
and England carved numerous buffets in the Renaissance 
style. The former, returning to the models of Dietterlin and 
De Vries, shows hardly anything but cold and heavy work; 
while the insular production, by mingling the ornament of 
the Tudor Style with the capricious forms of the Far East, 
succeeded in creating original furniture entirely appropriate 
to the Anglo-Saxon spirit.'* 

It is interesting to note instructions in 1821 for a side- 
board and the wine-cooler that stands beneath it. The 
authority tells us : 

" The sideboard should be made entirely of mahogany or 
of fine oak, which has been so generally adopted of late in 
mansions furnished in the ancient style. This, in fact, is the 
more consistent, and, therefore, the more tasteful mode of 
decoration ; for, in matters of this kind, consistency is abso- 
lutely essential to tasteful decoration. Mahogany, however, 
may be used with great propriety, and, perhaps, the effect 
of that wood, on the whole, is richer than that produced by 
oak. Of course, however, the adoption of one or the other 
must depend upon a variety of circumstances. 

" The cellaret, which has been made in the form of a sar- 
cophagus, is an imitation of one represented on a tomb in 
Luton Church; and, of course, it should be made to corre- 
spond in size and appearance with the other parts of the 
sideboard. The shields are well adapted to receive carvings 
of family arms which would add greatly to the richness and 
appearance of the whole." 



The Cabinet 

Generally speaking, the cabinet is a chest placed on a 
stand ; and, like the buffet, its upper part, or chest, is closed 
by two doors. The interior is composed of a series of 
drawers usually concealed behind doors, or wings. The 
drawers are frequently of different sizes and each is locked 
independently of the other. Often, too, there are secret 
drawers and compartments. In the huche, as we have seen, 
people kept their small treasures ; and many a huche for the 
sake of convenience was made to open on the sides; and, as 
time wore on, the huche was placed on a stand with feet, and 
was opened by means of two front doors, behind which 
drawers, or shelves, now replaced the little boxes with v/hich 
the huche had occasionally been furnished. In this form, 
it was used as a marriage coffer; and, when a high stand 
was added, it was called a cabinet. 

Thus, a development of the simple huche, the cabinet 
became one of the most sumptuous and ornate pieces of 
furniture; and the wood cabinet-maker was employed to 
describe the artisan who made fine furniture, while the com- 
mon joiner made the simpler pieces. 

Some authorities insist that this form of furniture is of 
Oriental origin; and certainly the examples produced in 
some countries show Eastern influence in both form and 
decoration. Venice, Spain and Portugal received many 
cabinets from the East; and in Spain and Portugal the 
cabinet was made in great numbers, especially in Vargas, 
a province of Toledo, from which some authorities say the 
word varguenos, or harguenos, is derived. Where these 
cabinets were ornamented with marquetry or pierced metal- 
work, or made of exotic wood, carved or incrusted with 
ivory or ebony, they were of a special fashion that did not 


' ' ; ) 

Plate LX 

Eighteenth Century Italian 

Carved and Gilt Cabinet on 


Eighteenth Century English 

Carved and Gilt Cabinet on 



c t t 

Chests and Cupboards 

cross the Pyrenees. Cabinets of tortoise-shell, incrusted 
with ivory or mother-of-pearl, were made in Lisbon by 
Prabro Fibrug; and one signed Jeronimo Fernandez, 1661, 
is in the South Kensington Museum. 

In the varguenos the adaptation of the coffer is very 
evident. The long box is placed on a stand consisting of two 
legs strengthened by a balustrade. The outside of the 
simple box is ornamented with iron-work. The flap lets 
down and is held by supports pulled forward from their 
invisible hiding-place. The interior, then seen, is divided 
into a number of little drawers, or closets enclosed by wings. 
The interior of these Spanish cabinets is exactly like the 
Italian and Flemish cabinets, the only difference being in the 
style of decoration for the faces of the drawers and shutters. 
In an old dialogue published in 1669, the following questions 
are asked and answered: "How much has your worship 
paid for this cabinet?" "It is worth more than forty 
ducats." " What wood is it made of? " " The red one is 
made of mahogany from the Habanas, and the black one is 
made of ebony and the white one of ivory. You will find 
the workmanship excellent. Here you will find a finer 
cabinet." "Where was it made?" "It was brought with 
these chairs from Salamanca." 

Cabinets decorated with pietra dura were imported into 
Spain, for Madame d'Aulnoy, when describing the house of a 
grandee of Spain in her Voyage en Espagne (1643), speaks 
of " fine cabinets enriched with stones, which are not made 
in Spain." " What I find most beautiful," she adds, " are 
the escaparates, a species of small cabinet, shut with one 
door and filled with every imaginable rarity." 

Among a list of Spanish wood-carvers of the Sixteenth and 
the Seventeenth Century, the names occur of Francisco, mas- 
ter-maker of cabinets in ebony and ivory (161 7), and Lucas 
de Velasco, master in painting and gilding cabinets ( 1633). 



Cabinets and armoires were also covered with tortoise- 
shell and gilt-bronze, and enclosed by glass doors. Cabinets 
of ebony, inlaid and covered with repousse silver-work must 
have been very generally made in Spain. Silver was used 
to so great an extent after the conquest of America that 
a law was issued in 1574 prohibiting with the utmost rigor 
the making and selling of this kind of merchandise in order 
not to increase the scarcity of silver. " No cabinets, desks, 
coffers, braziers, etc., shall be manufactured of silver," was 
one order issued. 

Cabinets of inlaid ivory, or different colored woods, were 
brought into Spain from Italy and Germany; in fact, so 
many cabinets and escritoires were imported that a petition 
was presented to the King by one Pedro Gutierrez begging 
for protection for this industry. We also learn that " The 
cabinets and escritoires (contadores y bufetes), which were 
worth 500, 600 and 700 reales when brought from Germany, 
are now made in Spain for 250 and 300 reales each ; " and 
in 1603 Philip III. issued an edict in which " cabinets of 
every kind coming from Nuremberg are not allowed to 
enter the country." 

Escritorios de la Chine, described by De Laval (see page 
38), were probably the same kind of articles that Catherine 
of Braganza took with her sixty years later when she went 
to London as the bride of the king; for Evelyn tells us that : 

" The Queen brought over with her from Portugal such 
Indian cabinets as had never before been seen here." 

Flanders excelled in making cabinets ; and Antwerp was 
especially famous for them. French noblemen had such 
a fancy for collecting Flemish cabinets that Henri II. sent 
French workmen to the Low Countries to learn the art of 
making them and of carving in ebony. On their return, 
he established them in the Louvre. One of these was 
Laurent Stabre ; another, Pierre Boulle, the uncle of Andre 


Plate LXI 

Eighteenth Century English Painted Cabinet on 

Chests and Cupboards 

Charles Boulle ; and another, Jean Mace of Blois, who was 
given a lodging in the Louvre " on account of his long prac- 
tice of this art in the Low Countries, and the skill he has 
shown in his cabinet-work in ebony and other woods of 
various colors that he has presented to the Regent Queen." 

Du Cerceau also designed cabinets of very elegant form. 

The cabinet was the most fashionable piece of furniture in 
the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Not only was it 
made of wood or damaskeened metal and variously carved 
or inlaid, but we also find leather cabinets. Two beautiful 
examples of the latter are in Cluny Museum; one is of 
azure leather stamped with gold, and exhibiting all the skill 
of the book-binder's work. The picture on the central 
drawer, a sort of fountain of love at which are standing a 
knight and a lady, is supposed to represent Philip IV. and 
Margaret of Austria, who were married in 1599. It is 
thought to be of Flemish origin. 

The faces of the twelve drawers each represent Renais- 
sance pictures, and each is different. 

The second cabinet is French, and dates from the reign 
of Louis XIII. It is of red morocco, tooled with gold. 
The supports are also of leather. These two pieces are as 
beautiful as they are curious. 

Ebony cabinets with geometrical motives. Renaissance 
patterns, pictures, etc., in ivory; cabinets inlaid with mother- 
of-pearl and ivory and embellished with arabesques of gold ; 
and cabinets of iron damaskeened with gold and silver 
and decorated with bas-reliefs were made in Milan, Naples 
and Venice; and all were upon practically the same archi- 
tectural model — first the stand, or table, on four, six, or 
eight legs connected by stretchers on which rests a pyramid 
of drawers flanked by columns, or pilasters, enclosed by 
doors or a falling-flap and surmounted by an ornamental 
figure, or several figures. The interior was often elabor- 



ately decorated with marbles, agates, lapis-lazuli, amber, 
mother-of-pearl, tortoise-shell, and sometimes marquetry of 
colored woods or ivory. Nothing could be more sumptuous 
than the Italian cabinets thus inlaid with exotic woods, or 
incrusted with precious metals and semi-precious stones. 
Some of them had pilasters of lapis-lazuli, plates of em- 
bossed silver, paintings, miniatures and silver or gold 
figurines. To make such a work, a great number of crafts- 
men were required. 

Ebony seems to have been the favorite wood in use in 
Italy; and many of the ebony cabinets contained in the 
Pitti Palace and the Louvre might pass for mourning furni- 
ture until they are opened, when the utmost magnificence is 
revealed in the decoration of the drawers. 

Cardinal Richelieu had some splendid Italian cabinets, 
some of which passed into the possession of Cardinal Maz- 
arin. One of these was five feet long and five feet, ten 
inches high. It rested on four ebony columns united in 
front and four pear-wood pilasters behind. The octagonal 
panel on the doors represented Amphion on the dolphin; 
the frieze was decorated with marine monsters; and the 
interior compartments adorned with flowers. 

One of Mazarin's treasures was described as : 

" An ebony cabinet having a little moulding on the sides, 
quite plain outside, the front being divided into three ar- 
cades, in the middle of which are six niches, in four of 
which in the lower row, are four virgins of ebony bearing 
bouquets of silver, the said doors being ornamented with 
eight columns of veined lapis-lazuli, the bases and capitals of 
composite order in silver, the fronts of the doors and the 
rest of the cabinet being ornamented with various pieces, 
viz., cornalines, agate and jasper, set with silver; and above 
the arcades are three masques in jasper and twelve roses 
of the same mixed with six oval cornalines; the remainder 


Plate LXII 
Late Louis XV. Encoignure, or Corner Cabinet 

Chests and Cupboards 

is ornamented with silver let into the ebony in cartouche and 
leaf -work." 

A famous cabinet of ebony decorated with small columns 
of pietra dura and bronze ornaments was made by Buon- 
talenti for the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and was further 
ornamented with miniatures of the most beautiful ladies of 
Florence ; and another great cabinet said to have been made 
for Marie of Gonzaga, Queen of Poland, now in the Cluny, 
shows the kind of furniture made in Florence at the end of 
the Sixteenth and beginning of the Seventeenth Century. 
This is in three stages and is encased in tortoise-shell 
within and without. It is embellished with pietra dura and 
other stones, representing birds and landscapes ; and, more- 
over, it is adorned with pilasters of lapis-lazuli, cornelians, 
plaques of silver, paintings and miniatures. The whole piece 
is ornamented with beaten and open-worked copper. The 
cabinet is supported on a stand with four legs ornamented 
with copper capitals. The stand is also incrusted with 
mother-of-pearl and tortoise-shell. 

The interior is beautifully decorated, and is just as ornate 
as the exterior. Many of the mosaics, however, have been 
replaced by miniatures of the reign of Louis XV. 

It was as fashionable to own German as it was to own 
Flemish cabinets. Catherine de' Medici was one of those 
who had several " cabinets d' Allemagne." 

Many of the German cabinets are so wonderfully deco- 
rated that they have been aptly called " palaces in minia- 
ture." Not satisfied with rare carvings in ivory and marvel- 
lous silver ornamentations — the metal-workers of Augs- 
burg were specially skilful — the Germans carried decoration 
still further than the Italians and introduced amber plaques 
into the facades, a fashion that persisted until the Eighteenth 

Hans Schwanhard (died 1621) introduced into the deco- 



ration of cabinets the rayed and wavy borders, a character- 
istic by which many pieces of furniture of the Seventeenth 
Century may be recognized. The Germans also borrowed 
from Italy the fashion of introducing into the fagades of 
the cabinets painting and gold-work executed on glass. 
This practice dates from the end of the Fifteenth and the 
beginning of the Sixteenth Century. 

Among the famous examples of German cabinets is one 
by Hans Schieferstein dated 1568, ornamented with carved 
ivory; and one by Kellerthaler of Nuremberg, in ebony, 
dated 1585 — both in the Museum of Dresden. An ebony 
cabinet decorated with plaques of copper on which are en- 
graved pictures from Virgilius Solis, dating from the end of 
the Sixteenth Century, is in the Castle of Rosenborg (Copen- 
hagen). The most celebrated of all is the Kunstschrank of 
Pomerania, now in the Museum of Industrial Art, Berlin. 
The latter displays all the magnificence of Italian luxury as 
interpreted by a German artist. This cabinet was made in 
Augsburg by Philip Hainhofer, for Philip IL, Duke of 
Pomerania. It was finished in 161 7. Hainhofer called in 
the aid of many artists for the ivory carvings, the silver 
bas-reliefs and the enamelled plaques which entered into its 
decoration. Altogether the services of one sculptor, three 
painters, one painter in enamel, six goldsmiths, an organ- 
maker, two clock-makers, a mechanician, a cabinet-maker, a 
modeller in wax, an engraver on metal, an engraver of 
precious stones, a turner, a locksmith, two sheath-makers 
and a binder were employed. This wonderful cabinet is, 
however, comparatively small ; it is but four feet, ten inches 
high ; three feet, four inches wide ; and two feet, ten inches 
deep. The wood is ebony, supported on four heads of grif- 
fins of silver-gilt, and also a large scroll which bears the 
chief weight. Lapis-lazuli, jasper, cornelian, agate and 
chased silver ornaments adorn the work ; and there are also 





Chests and Cupboards 

medallions of silver and Limoges enamel. The drawers 
are of sandal- wood lined with red morocco. 

Every Dutch house of the Seventeenth Century had its 
cabinet for the preservation and display of the little articles 
that had been gathered for several generations. Sometimes 
these were simple and sometimes they were very costly. It 
is amusing to read that the wife of an old Dutch pastor of 
this date had a longing for one of these treasures. When 
the worthy minister was asked how much he would charge 
for his translation of Cicero's Epistolce ad familiares, he 
apologized for mentioning any reward ; but " having to take 
heed of his wife whom the Lord had given him for a help- 
meet," he asked for a "nutwood cabinet with a set of porce- 
lain to go with it and ornaments for the top," which the 
good lady, like all other Dutch ladies of her time, was very 
anxious to possess; and so the pastor hoped the consistory 
would grant it. 

The cabinet was an object of special luxury for the ex- 
hibition of little articles of value possessed by the rich. 
Whether carved or inlaid, its drawers were lined with mo- 
rocco, velvet, or silk; and those cabinets that had glass 
doors and shelves were covered with crimson velvet, green 
silk, tooled-leather, or cloth-of-gold. Very frequently, silver 
ribbon was twisted behind the glass into geometrical patterns, 
or into a sort of lattice-work, or the initials or monogram of 
the owner, and supplied with hooks, from which were sus- 
pended the watches, jewels, silver trinkets and Oriental 
curios so valued by the owner. 

There was a great taste for lacquered cabinets in Eng- 
land during the days of the later Stuarts; and they were 
called, as a rule, "Japan Cabinets." These were not only 
imported from the East and from Holland, but were made 
in England, where the art of lacquering became known 
about 1633. I^ i693» w^ hear of " Japan Cabinets, Indian 



and English/' made by John Gunley, in London. In Queen 
Anne's day, they lacquered upon oak and pine ; and some of 
it is in excellent preservation. Later in the century, they 
used the less durable beech and sycamore. Lacquered 
panels were also imported and made up into the pieces of 

Marquetry cabinets were also highly prized in their day. 
Occasionally beautiful specimens come into the market. A 
cabinet of the William IIL period was sold recently in 
London for a hundred guineas. It was five feet, nine inches 
high and three feet,. eleven inches wide. It consisted of six- 
teen drawers and cupboard. The work was English mar- 
quetry on a walnut ground, and the folding-doors were 
beautifully inlaid with birds, insects and flowers in vases. 

The " Queen Anne cabinets " most prized by collectors are 
those decorated with marquetry in arabesque patterns, or 
with " cobweb " or " seaweed " panels. The cornice often 
contains a long, single drawer, and the inside of the doors is 
ornamented with marquetry panels. 

A very handsome example was sold recently in London 
for 340 guineas. It was composed of ten drawers and a 
cupboard with one drawer, on a stand, having two drawers, 
with scroll-shaped supports. The cabinet was inlaid with 
arabesque foliage and brass drop-handles. Its height was 
five feet, five inches, and its width three feet, five inches. 

A cabinet of the first half of the Eighteenth Century is 
shown on Plate LX. It is of fine w^alnut, inlaid with ivory 
and having carved and gilt decorations. The upper part con- 
sists of a cupboard with a long drawer underneath. Behind 
this the two small cupboards containing eight drawers. 
The stand has richly carved and gilt cabriole legs with ball- 
and-claw feet. An Italian stand and glass cabinet of the 
same period shows similar legs with extravagant carving 
and appears also on Plate LX. 




">* no 
^ > 

fa [7H 





Chests and Cupboards 

The Adam cabinets are semi-circular. They are often 
ornamented with painted panels, and are made of beautiful 
exotic woods. They differ but little from the commodes of 
the day. The Heppelwhite cabinet is also similar to the 
Heppelwhite commode. 

Sheraton designed cabinets in the prevailing taste of the 
Louis XVI. Style in his first period ; and later in his career 
cabinets in the new Empire taste. 

The following examples sold recently in London are all 
Sheraton pieces: Satin-wood cabinet (2 ft. 3 in. wide) with 
glazed folding-doors carved with foliage, drawers beneath, 
fluted legs, 56 guineas; satin-wood cabinet (7 ft. 9 in. high, 
3 ft. 5 in. wide), consisting of shelves behind glazed folding- 
doors, central drawer forming desk, folding-doors below, 
the paintings, basket of flowers, 180 guineas; small cabinet 
(2 ft. wide), folding-doors enclosing drawers, bands and 
zigzags of tulip-wood, inlaid, fall-down front and drawers 
at end, 100 guineas. 

An English painted cabinet on a stand (Plate LXI.) fol- 
lows the old original form. The whole cabinet is painted 
inside as well as outside by Cipriani. The two panels on 
the doors represent Venus in her car drawn by doves and at- 
tended by Cupid and a Sacrifice to Flora; the sides are 
painted with Muses, medallions, ribbons and flowers, and 
the top with Cupid, doves and flowers. The borders are deli- 
cately painted arabesques, brightened with gilt headings. 
The doors are painted on the other side with mythological 
subjects and the eleven drawers they conceal with Cupids, 
doves, flowers and ribbons. 

The table on which the cabinet stands is supplied with a 
drawer, the lines of which follow the lines of the cabinet. 
This is painted with medallions, classical figures, Cupids, 
masks, arabesques and swags of flowers, and is supported 
on tapering legs also sympathetically painted. The back- 



ground of the whole cabinet inside and out is cream colored, 
the height 4 feet and length 2 feet 2^2 inches. 

What some critics consider the most important piece of 
English furniture ever produced is a cabinet that was de- 
signed by Seddons in 1793 for the King of Spain (Charles 
IV.) and made by Seddons's foreman, Newham. It is 
nine feet high, six feet long and three feet at its greatest 
depth. It is decorated with panels, painted by William 
Hamilton, R. A., representing the insignia of the Spanish 
Orders of Knighthood, the Golden Fleece, the Immaculate 
Conception, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, Fire and 
Water, Night and Morning, Ceres in a car drawn by lions, 
Juno and her peacocks and many Cupids. 

" The inlaid work on it is superlative, whilst the chased 
and gilt metal-work mounted on it has no English rival. In- 
side, the carcase is fitted as a dressing-table, bureau and 
jewel-case in a most clever fashion. In contour a majestic 
dome rises from the centre, and this is flanked by two sepa- 
rate, square-shaped wings. Imperial eagles guard the top, 
whilst the whole rests on six lions couchant. Classic draped 
figures, cherubs and fauns' heads in relief carving further 
set off this remarkable example, which is to-day worth many 
thousands of pounds." ^ 

To this class of furniture also belongs the china-cupboard 
and china-cabinet, known in France as the vitriiie on account 
of its glass doors. Chippendale's china-cabinet stands on a 
frame and consists of a series of shelves enclosed behind 
glass doors. Sometimes the glass is encircled by a gilt 
moulding; but, as a rule, it consists of small panes brought 
together in a charming Gothic pattern of squares, lozenges, 
or ovals by means of strap mouldings. Small cabinets Chip- 
pendale made in the " Chinese style " with pagoda top,^nd, 
perhaps, a single glass door with a fretwork border. The 

* Wheeler. 

Plate LXV 

Louis XV. Bureau-Commode with Bronze-gilt Ornamentation 

and Leaf Shoes 

Chippendale Bureau-Commode 

Metropolitan Museum 

Chests and Cupboards 

frame consisting of four straight legs sympathetically carved 
with Chinese ornamentation or fretwork. 

China ware was at such a height in Chippendale's day that 
it is not surprising to find a great number of china-cases, 
shelves, cupboards and cabinets made purposely to display 
it. As a rule, the decoration of these was a conglomeration 
of Chinese motives: fretwork, pagoda roofs, mandarin- 
hats, little bells, leaves, scrolls and dripping- water. One of 
these he describes as " a very neat china-case upon a 
frame with glass doors in the front and ends; betwixt the 
middle feet is a stretcher with a canopy which will hold a 
small figure." He adds that "the design must be executed 
by the hands of an ingenious workman, and when neatly 
japanned will appear very beautiful." China-cases were to 
be made of " soft wood and japanned or painted and partly 
gilt " and one " very proper for a lady's dressing-room may 
be made of any soft wood and japanned any color." 

" The china-case when carried out in the Chinese taste 
was usually crowned with a pagoda-shaped dome, a treat- 
ment extended to any wings abutting on the main or central 
portion of the body. The case proper was glazed, the glass 
being contained in lattice-work of a more or less Eastern 
character. Generally speaking these models rested on legs 
and feet, the decoration to which was in keeping with the 
rest of the scheme. From the eaves of the pagoda hung little 
ivory ornaments and the general effect arrived at suited the 
china of the period admirably. It would almost seem as 
though Chippendale had realized that of all the porcelain 
that had been produced or were to come, none would blend 
with his productions so happily as did those of the Oriental 
school." ^ 

Ince and Mayhew also made china-cabinets and china- 
shelves in the fantastic " Chinese taste " of the day which 

1 Wheeler. 


are so like Chippendale's productions that it is almost im- 
possible to distinguish them. 

The French corner-cabinets, or encoignures, of which a 
beautiful example of late Louis XV. is shown on Plate 
LXIL, were also of great importance during the Eighteenth 
Century in both England and France. 

The Commode 

The commode, the last transformation of the cabinet, 
was a very important piece of furniture in the Seventeenth 
and, more particularly. Eighteenth Century. Its place was 
in the drawing-room or bedroom. The commode is breast- 
high, stands on four feet, and is supplied with two long 
drawers. Exactly when it received its name is not known; 
for it does not appear in the first edition of the Dictionnaire 
de r Academic (1694). Some people like to associate it 
with the headdress called Commode, introduced by Made- 
moiselle Fontange, and universally worn at the end of the 
Seventeenth and beginning of the Eighteenth Century, but 
its name was probably chosen to denote its usefulness. It 
appears in early French inventories as bureau de commode 
and bureau en commode. 

It appears in the prints of Berain, who died in 1711 ; but 
its name must have been in general use before that time, as 
it constantly appears in inventories. It 1708, the room of 
the Due d'Orleans, at Versailles, contained " a bureau- 
commode in walnut, with two long drawers fastened with 

The great French cabinet-makers seem to have had a 
special affection for this form. Boulle's commode en tom- 
beau was famous and the great swelling curve of this tomb- 
like form also occurs in his commodes a panse (paunch 


' ' :. » > ', 






I— ( 








Chests and Cupboards 

A commode of Louis XIV. period shown on Plate XXVI. 
is characteristic Boulle work, ornamented with splendid gilt- 
bronze mounts. The corners are adorned with bold and 
beautiful acanthus leaves forming scrolls. Three mascarons 
decorate the ends and base; and the handles of the drawers 
are formed of lions' heads with rings in their mouths. The 
gilt key-plates are also beautifully chiselled. This fine piece 
is in the Wallace Gallery in London. The earliest com- 
modes are masterpieces of cabinet-work. The rarest woods 
were employed in their manufacture and they were enriched 
with inlays of mother-of-pearl, tortoise-shell and marquetry 
of colored woods and adorned with chiselled and gilt metal 
mounts and ornate leaf-shoes or carved and gilded feet. 
Handsome gilded figures often ornamented the corners and 
the mascaron or espagnolette decorated the centre of the 

The espagnolette, it may be noted, is the name for the 
woman's head surrounded by a plaited ruff which is so fre- 
quently used for decoration by the masters of the Louis 
XIV. period. A very fine example appears on the commode 
on Plate XXVI. 

The commodes of the Regency period were more elegant 
in form and less loaded with ornamentation. The chiselled 
bronze mounts were more restrained and stand out on a 
background of rosewood or amaranth, or some other rare 
exotic wood. 

The metal-mounts were beautifully treated, especially 
by Caffieri. About this time, too, the Martins enriched 
these commodes with their beautiful paintings representing 
Chinese landscapes and scenes in imitation of Chinese lac- 
quer. These panels were most exquisitely framed in borders 
of pierced metal, the chief motives of which were shells and 
scrolls. The slab was, as a rule, made of choice and costly 
marble; marble, beautifully colored and beautifully veined. 



Cressent made Commodes a la Regence, a la Chartres, a la 
Bagnolet, a la Charolais, a la Harant and a la Dauphine; 
and the " bow-shaped," which he describes as en arhalete, 
was one of his favorites. One of his commodes was de- 
scribed by the maker in 1761, when it was sold, as follows: 
" A commode of a pleasing contour, made of violet-wood, 
having four drawers and ornamented with bronze-gilt {or 
moulu). This commode is a work (with regard to the 
bronzes) of extraordinary richness; they are very well 
executed, and the distribution of them very fine; among 
other things, you notice the bust of a Spanish woman placed 
between the four drawers ; two dragons, whose tails turned 
up in relief form the handles for the two upper drawers, 
and the stems of two great leaves of a beautiful form are 
also turned up in relief to make handles for the two lower 
ones; you must admit that this commode is a veritable 

This description agrees perfectly with the example in the 
Wallace Gallery. The superb commode in the same Col- 
lection, by Caffieri, is one of the best specimens of the ap- 
plication of bronze decoration to furniture. With Caffieri, 
architecture is entirely subordinate to ornamentation; and 
this fine piece is a study of the art of the metal-worker. 

The example shown on Plate LXIII. is a commode with 
two drawers in marquetry of colored woods, the design being 
of floral boughs and birds. The handles, key-plates, orna- 
mental mouldings and leaf -shoes are of bronze, in rocaille. 
The .slab is of marble. This handsome piece, which is almost 
perfect in proportion and extreme beauty of line, is a 
splendid example of the Louis XV. age. It is signed L. 

The elegant little Regency bureau (Plate LXIV.) was 
made for Louis XV. when a child. It is decorated with 
branch and foliage design of copper on tortoise-shell; the 


J ■ > J > 

K I ', : .'>' 


D o 

Chests and Cupboards 

eagle claw-feet and other metal enrichments are of gilt 

Sometimes at this period the lower part of an armoire 
was used as a commode, just as the lower part of an 
Eighteenth Century " high-boy " is also used to-day as a 

Chippendale, who copied everything that was fashionable 
in France, made commodes which he calls '* French com- 
mode tables," " commode bureau-tables," and " buroe dress- 
ing-tables." In his examples the drawers frequently reach 
to the floor. He decorated them profusely with leafy 
scrolls and light dripping water effects. 

As the reign of Louis XV. comes to a close, and the new 
taste for the straight line asserts itself, the low-shaped and 
bombe commode gives place to a piece of furniture that 
returns to the chest in its rectangular lines. The commode 
now stands on grooved feet; sometimes it has doors, and 
sometimes long drawers ; few lacquered commodes are made, 
and marquetry gradually gives place to panels ornamented 
with a vase of flowers or trophies inlaid in the centre, or 
plain panels framed in a delicately chased bronze moulding 
and adorned with a central metal ornament. Sometimes 
plaques of Sevres porcelain are used instead of panels of 

The cabinet-makers and designers all loved this form, and 
lavished all the resources of their skill and rich materials 
upon its composition. 

The commodes that Riesener made at the end of the reign 
of Louis XV. are of two types. The richer form is some- 
what similar to the form of his desks; the central part of 
the body beautifully decorated with marquetry or a 
medallion of chiselled bronze. The very low feet are encased 
in a leaf-shoe, or end in only a scroll. The moulding is 
enriched with metal work in the form of roses, garlands, 



ovolos, or flutings. The simpler commodes are less sump- 
tuous regarding the use of marquetry and bronze; are 
shaped like a massive coffer; and stand on very low curved 
feet, which hardly seem to belong to the piece of furniture, 
so awkwardly do they jut from the corners. 

During the Louis XVL period Riesener made a series of 
commodes that are models of taste and execution. In the 
centre he placed a panel of marquetry of wood representing 
attributes of the field or bouquets of flowers, and on each 
side panels inlaid in lozenges, which set off the principal 
subject. Upon the moulding a row of floral crowns de- 
velops for a frieze, while figures of caryatides or Corinthian 
columns rising out of the leaf-shoe of copper form the up- 
rights of the sides. Other of his commodes are entirely 
covered with flowers and fruits that stand out from the 
panels of old Chinese lacquer. 

The commodes made at this period by Heppelwhite were 
often shaped like half of a drum and were of satin-wood, 
richly inlaid. Sheraton's commodes were also exceedingly 
rich. In a description of a drawing-room, when he was 
under the influence of the Louis XVI. taste, Sheraton wrote : 
" The commode opposite the fire-place has four doors ; its 
legs are intended to stand a little clear of the wings; and 
the top is marble to match the pier-tables. In the frieze part 
of the commode is a tablet in the centre made of an exquisite 
composition in imitation of statuary marble. These are to 
be had of any figure, or on any subject, at Mr. Wedgwood's, 
near Soho Square. They are let into the wood, and project 
a little forward. The commode should be painted to suit 
the furniture, and the legs and other parts in gold, to har- 
monize with the sofas, tables and chairs." 

Riesener's rival, Benneman, produced many commodes. 
Some of these are now in Fontainebleau and the Garde- 
Meuble ; their forms already announce the imitation of 







reau by Rlesener 


In 1 

Be i 

^^H^Kji , Mi 







^ ^1 ;.^^ 



Chests and Cupboards 

heavy classic models soon to invade French art; but 
whose decorative metal mounts rank among the best French 
work. One of Benneman's achievements in this line was an 
enormous commode in mahogany in the forni of the lower 
part of an armoire with terminal figures of women at the 
corners of gilded bronze. 

In the Louis XVI. period the rounded forms of the 
commode gave way to the straight line. Some had doors, 
and others had only drawers; these were called commodes 
tomheaux. They stood on short, upright legs. " Commodes 
were used more and more in furnishing bedrooms. They 
were made of four and sometimes fiwt drawers one above 
another; naturally the legs lost some of their height, and 
the floral placages were supplanted by mouldings garnished 
with chiselled bronze, marquetry woods were replaced by 
mahogany, amaranth and even walnut, but few were made 
of palissandre. Two regular handles were used on each 
drawer on either side of a central keyhole; the tops were 
almost always of marble." ^ 

Louis XVL Style 

** A half moon " mahogany commode is shown on Plate 
LXVI. with three drawers in front and a little cupboard and 
drawer at each side. It is mounted with gilt bronze ornaments 
and has a marble top. This piece was made by L. Moreau. 

Commodes were proscribed during the Directoire and 
Empire, as they were considered out of keeping with antique 
furniture. Their exclusion did not become general, and did 
not last long. People had to return to this useful piece of 
furniture. The commode, however, never recovered its 
former elegance, and, thereafter was only a piece of heavy 
mahogany furniture slightly ornamented with metal-work, 

1 Deville. 



which decoration, after a time, disappeared altogether. 
Commode dressing-tables and commode writing-desks are 
still made. No piece of furniture is more prized by the col- 
lector than a fine specimen of the Seventeenth or Eighteenth 

The Bureau 

The word bureau seems to have been used before the 
Seventeenth Century to describe a table or a counter covered 
with a rough kind of cloth called drap de bure. About 1650, 
upon it was placed a little box with drawers supplied with a 
flap to let down. In other words the Spanish cabinet — the 
vargueno — became the desk. (See Plate LVIII.) 

The bureau of Marechal de Crequi and that belonging to 
Marie de' Medici, both in the Cluny Museum, are splendid 
examples of the type of bureau that dates from the first 
half of the Seventeenth Century. They are of rosewood 
incrusted with copper, shell, and other metal in the style that 
Boulle brought to such perfection. The Crequi piece dates 
from 1638 and is really a cabinet standing on a table sup- 
plied with drawers. The second piece, which tradition gives 
to Marie de' Medici, is mounted on eight balusters with 
capitals joined four on each side by stretches, and supplied 
with two drawers on each side of the table, and surmounted 
by an upper box composed of eight drawers and a panel 
that opens. (See Plate LXVIII.) 

There seems to have been very little, if any, difference 
between the bureau and bureau en commode. The Duchess 
of Orleans, for instance, had a walnut commode three feet 
seven inches long and two feet wide, having three drawers 
with iron rings, and the Duke had a bureau en commode, 
three feet, five inches long, with two drawers with iron rings. 
Madame de Maintenon owned a walnut bureau inlaid with 


Plate LXIX 

Eighteenth Century American Desk and Bookcase 

Metropolitan Museum 

Chests and Cupboards 

ebony, with seven drawers on each side, each having copper- 
gilt key-plates. (See Plate LXV.) 

The bureau, however, was a desk, while the commode was 
more of a dressing-table. 

In the reign of Louis XV. the long bureau table was a 
favorite form of furniture, and sometimes at one end of it 
was placed a case of shelves, drawers, or pigeon-holes that 
was known as serre-papiers. Sometimes the serre-papiers 
was surmounted by a clock. (See Plate CX.) 

The bureau or desk was of great importance in this reign, 
when the roll-top or cylinder bureau was invented or made 
popular by the Prince de Kaunitz, Maria Theresa's ambas- 
sador to France, from which it derived its name, " bureau a 
la Kaunitz." To this reign belongs the famous bureau du 
roi, which most critics consider the most beautiful piece of 
furniture of the Eighteenth Century. It was ordered for 
Louis XV. from J. F. CEben who died before it was 
finished. Riesener completed the work and placed his sig- 
nature upon it in 1769. How much Riesener did upon it is 
not known. Before CEben died, however, the model in wood 
was constructed and the bronzes had been modelled and cast 
by Duplessis, Winant and Hervieux ; but the piece had to be 
brought together as a complete whole, the marquetry was 
not made, and the cylinder had to be combined. 

The bureau du roi is five and a half feet long and three 
feet in depth. It is made of rosewood and amaranth, richly 
decorated with Riesener's best marquetry, representing 
flowers, leaves and attributes of royalty and poetry. The or 
moidu mountings are magnificent. There are swags of 
leaves, laurel wreaths, knots of ribbon, an open-worked 
gallery placed on a horizontal ornament of rods twined with 
ribbons, above the cylinder top, broken in the centre by a 
clock upon which two Cupids are playing, and on each side 
of the cylinder is a reclining figure of gilt bronze holding 



a flower that is intended for a candlestick. The back of 
this bureau is as finely decorated as the front. The whole 
work is admired for its form, its beautiful proportions, its 
fine lines, its simplicity, its or moulu work, its marquetry 
and the exquisite workmanship it represents. 

This bureau was in the Tuileries in 1807; was removed 
to the Palace of St. Cloud by Napoleon III., and from 
there to the Louvre in 1870. 

A similar bureau was made for Stanislaus, King of Poland, 
and also a copy by Zwiener of Paris is in the Wallace Col- 
lection. (See Plate LXVIII.) Other reproductions were 
made of this work and many other fine bureaux also went 
from Riesener's workshop, large and small, more or less 
decorated with bronzes, all of which prove how greatly this 
form was liked. A cylinder bureau of Riesener's second 
style, long at Trianon, is now in the Musee du Mobilier 
national. This is decorated in his favorite lozenge-shaped 
marquetry and ornamented with bronze. 

A superb bureau made by Dubois, who frequently 
worked from designs by Pineau, is in the Wallace Collection. 
The desk and cartonnier are in green lacquer, ornamented 
with chiselled bronze, the feet being sirens and the serre- 
papiers surmounted by figures of Cupid, Psyche, Peace and 
War. This bureau was said to have been a present from 
Louis XV. to Catherine IL of Russia. To this period also 
belongs the delicate little desk or bureau designed especially 
for the boudoir and called bonheur du jour. It closed with 
doors, or a flap, which, when let down, formed the writing 
table. Behind the flap was an array of pigeon-holes and 
drawers which were generally lined with blue velvet. The 
bonheur du jour was variously ornamented with marquetry, 
or plaques of Sevres porcelain, and adorned with delicate 
or moulu mounts. 

The desk that became popular in Queen Anne's day, 


Plate LXX 

Louis XVI. Secretary. Mahogany with Bronze-gilt 

Chests and Cupboards 

standing on a frame supported on four cabriole legs, and 
with slanting flap that, when let down and supported on 
slides or rests, forms the table for writing, is precisely the 
same form ; but it is interesting to see how much heavier the 
Anglo-Dutch writing-desk or " scriptor " is than its French 
relative. Instead of the gilt leaf-shoe, we have here the 
claw-and-ball foot, and the old cabinet arrangement of 
pigeon-holes and drawers is designed to hold documents and 
more serious correspondence than the perfumed missives of 
a Pompadour or a Du Barry. 

This, however, was not the only bureau of the period. 
Another form is the simple one as shown on Plate LXVIL, 
and another brings us back to the old armoire in two parts ; 
the lower one consisting of a series of drawers reaching to 
the floor, while the upper part is a combination of bookcase 
and writing-desk (see Plate LXIX.). 

Chippendale designed a great deal of library furniture; 
and many of his bookcases which follow the forms of the 
ancient armoire are combinations of bookcases and desks, 
and follow in the style of their ornamentation " the Gothic 
or the Chinese taste." Some of the bookcases contain a 
writing-drawer. One writing-table and bookcase for a lady 
has " the middle feet come out with the drawer, which hath 
a slider covered with green cloth or Spanish leather for 
writing upon." 

Chippendale's bookcase, with glass doors, is much used 
to-day for the display of china. The base generally con- 
tains cupboards or drawers and sometimes the arrangement 
consists of a cupboard in the centre with a tier of drawers in 
each wing. The broken pediment often surmounts the 
cornice. Chippendale's lattice-like traceries for the glass 
panes are very decorative and very varied. He published a 
great number of designs for these. 

Heppel white made desks after the styles that had become 



fashionable in his day. He made combination desks and 
bookcases and generally of mahogany, with drawers and 
internal conveniences of great variety. He also varied the 
patterns of the bookcase doors. " On the top, when orna- 
mented," he says, "is placed between a scroll of foliage a 
vase, bust, or other ornament which may be of mahogany, 
or gilt, or of light-colored wood." He also made cylinder- 
shaped desks and often used a tambour-shutter with which 
to close them. In this shutter the reeds were horizontally 
placed, a form familiar now in the commonest office-desks. 

Sheraton was also fond of the ornamental glass door 
for his bookcases, china cabinets and cupboards; but, as a 
rule, he instructed his customers to place green, pink, or 
white silk behind the glass. Many of his bookcases are a 
return to the ancient type of armoire a deux corps, the lower 
part being a desk and the upper part a series of shelves en- 
closed by wings, or a series of pigeon-holes and compart- 
ments. The example from the Metropolitan Museum on 
Plate LXIX. shows this form. 

Plate LXX. and Plate LXXI. take us back to the old 
cabinet on a stand of the form shown on Plate LXIX. ; 
although both are secretaries. The first is a secretary of the 
Louis XVI. period, made of mahogany and decorated with 
medallions representing children, garlands of leaves, rib- 
bons, friezes, and cul-de-lampe of bronze gilt. The sec- 
ond piece is an Empire writing-desk with delicate bronze 


', ^, ' ' ' 

Plate LXXI 

Empire Secretary 
Metropolitan Museum 



THERE still exists in the selamlik of a Turkish man- 
sion, the wooden house of a Syriac Christian, and 
in the tent of a rich sheik, the same bed, — a long 
cushion laid sometimes on a wooden divan, and sometimes 
on a crazy framework of timber or cane. This bed resembles 
the Egyptian couch, — a cushion 

placed on a framework, gener- Q^^^m^ ^ tr-'-i^ 
ally in the shape of an animal, ^"^^^^ S?"_S# 
whose back served as the resting- Egyptian couches 

place for the outstretched body. 

Beds are described in the Bible: that of Og, King of 
Bashan, was nine cubits long and four cubits broad. Beds 
of gold and silver are spoken of in the book of Esther; 
Herodotus mentions beds of silver and gold which he saw 
in the temples ; and a bed with a tester is recorded in Judith 
xvi. 23, which, in connection with rich tapestries, hung 
about a bed for ornament and luxury, proves that the ancient 
Hebrews understood something about the comforts for 

In the heroic age of Greece the people slept on heaps of 
skins or leaves, but in Homer's time they possessed beds. 
Some of the sleeping apartments of the Greeks were small 
and airless, mere cells, in fact; but they had sofas and 
truckle-beds of considerable comfort, and at an early period 
the four-posted bedstead. Beds with foot and headboard 
also became known. A bedroom in a wealthy Athenian villa 



is thus described : '* Before the door hangs a costly carpet, 
woven in variegated colors on a Babylonian loom. The 
bedstead is of maple, veneered (some are of bronze, at a 
later period tortoise-shell), at the top there is fastened an 
ornamented board to support the head ; girths are stretched 
across to support the mattress, which is covered with linen 
and sometimes with cloth or leather. 
The stuffing is of wool or leaves; 
a striped cushion, filled with feathers, 
forms the pillow. Clothes like the 
modern blanket are used, surmounted 
by a splendid coverlet from Miletus, 
or Corinth, or Carthasre, where a 

GREEK BEDSTEAD , • , , • , • * 

brisk trade was carried on in the 
manufacture of these articles of luxury. In cold weather 
furs are used, stuffed coverlets too, sometimes like the eider- 
down beds of Germany. The feet of the bedstead peep forth 
from under the rich coverlet and are of carved ivory. The 
floor is covered with Asiatic carpet; a table of veneered 
maple, with three goats' feet of bronze, is placed by the 
bedstead, and in one of the corners of the apartment is a 
Corinthian tripod containing a copper coal pan to warm the 
room in chilly weather." 

Previous to their subjugation of the East, the Romans 
slept on planks covered with straw, moss, or dried leaves; 
but, when Asiatic luxuries were introduced into the imperial 
city, the wealthy citizens furnished their sleeping apartments 
in a sumptuous manner with large carved bedsteads and 
couches of ivory or rare Indian woods inlaid with gold, 
amber, or tortoise-shell. The feet of these were often of 
gold or silver, and the mattress was filled with wool or 
feathers, and covered with a soft material having alternate 
stripes of white and violet sprinkled with gilt stars. Blankets 
were often used, purple being the favorite color ; and these 


Plate LXXII 

Dutch Renaissance Carved Oak Bedstead with 
Painted Leather Ceiling (1650) 

Metropolitan Museum , - ' 

rhe Bed 

were richly embroidered with devices wrought in gold. 
Over them were thrown counterpanes of the most beautiful 
furs and richest stuffs. Curtains and canopies were not 
unknown; and sometimes steps were placed by the side of 
the bed for the occupant to ascend easily upon the heap of 
luxurious cushions. 

In the early Anglo-Saxon homes the bedstead was a rarity 
except for kings, queens and other great personages; but 
as time wore on and the country became 
more calm and secure, the habits of the 
people also corresponded. The " par- 
loir," or talking-room, was added; fire- 
places of stone-work or bricks were 
made in rooms where previously the 
smoke had been allowed to escape 
through a hole in the roof; and bed- 
steads were draped with curtains. 

The Mediaeval upholsterer realized that 
a large room where bitter winds entered 
through the lancet windows could be 
rendered comfortable for sleeping only by the protection of 
a bed hung with heavy curtains, and so the curtains are of 
the utmost importance. 

For example, the " embroidered chamber " of Jane of 
Burgundy, Queen of Philip V., at her coronation at Rheims 
in 1330 was ornamented with 1321 parrots with the arms 
of the King, and 1321 butterflies with the arms of Burgundy. 

In the Middle Ages the word '' chamhre" was used to 
describe the entire set of hangings and curtains that adorned 
the bedroom, and these were frequently changed every 
season like the altar-cloths and vestments of the church and 
clergy. The rooms were named, too, after the various sea- 
sons of the church, or the subjects of the tapestry that 
adorned them. Beautiful Byzantine tapestry, with other 





hangings and carpets, was brought into Western Europe by 
those returning from the First Crusade (1096-1099), and 
after 1146, when Count Robert of Sicily brought home from 
his expedition into Greece some silk-workers and established 
a manufactory at Palermo, fine brocades and damasks were 

carried northward from 
Italy. During the Thir- 
teenth Century tapestries 
came into general use for 
hangings in private man- 
sions, and the looms of 
France and the Netherlands 
produced the most wonder- 
ful works. Subjects from Grecian mythology and heroic 
legends became as popular as those taken from the Bible. 

Arras was so celebrated early in the Fourteenth Century 
that the name soon became generic; the Italians called all 
woven tapestries Arazzi; the Spaniards, Panos de raz; and 
the English, Arras. Hamlet killed Polonius "behind the 
arras." Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, owned in 1420 
five chambers of tapestry, one of which was of Arras 
make, called the " Chamber of the little children." The 
canopy, headboard and coverlet of the bed, were worked 
with gold and silk, " the headboard and coverlet being strewn 
with trees, grasses and little children, and the canopy repre- 
senting trails of flowering rose trees on a red background." 
Another, called " The Chamber of the Coronation of Our 
Lady," was furnished with a canopy, a headboard, a bed, 
coverlet and six curtains, two of which were worked with 
gold, and the remaining four without gold. 

The same prince had also many chambers of velvet and 
silk embroidered with gold and silks. Mary of Burgundy, 
who was married to the Duke of Cleves in 141 5, had in her 
dowry a " superb bed of tapestry representing a deer hunt." 


>J1> '!'> J t >>!'» 


Early Seventeenth Century Bedstead {Lit-en-housse) 
Corsini Palace, Florence 

rhe Bed 

The miniatures of Mediaeval manuscripts often give rep- 
resentations of interiors, and to them we must go to ascertain 
exactly what the furniture of this period looked like. The 
bedstead, in nearly all cases, is nothing but a long chest on 
short legs, with a mattress and pillows, with the curtains 
and canopy suspended from the rafters by cords. Often 
the panels of the bedstead are of the favorite linen- fold 
pattern, as is the decoration of the chair that stands by its 
side. The seat of this ** prie-dieu " chair, as it has been 
called, lifted up, disclosing a box in which the devotional 
books were kept. 

In very wealthy houses the bedroom was frequently hung 
with splendid tapestry, or embroidered materials. A hand- 
some bedroom of the Twelfth Century is de- 
scribed by Baudri, Abbe de Bourgueil, in a 
poem dedicated to Adela, the daughter of 
William the Conqueror. Tapestry of silk, 
silver and gold forms the only decoration of 
the walls. One set depicts Chaos, the Crea- 
tion and Fall of Man, the Death of Abel and bed of the 
the Deluge; another set represents Biblical 
scenes from the time of Noah to the Kings of Judea; and 
a third set, scenes from Roman history and Grecian mythol- 
ogy. A hanging representing the Conquest of England 
(much in the style of the Bayeux Tapestry) decorated the 
alcove in which stood the bed of the Princess. The bed- 
stead was ornamented with three groups of statues, repre- 
senting Philosophy with Music, Astronomy, Arithmetic and 
Geometry; Rhetoric with Logic and Grammar; and Medi- 
cine with Galen and Hippocrates. The ceiling of the bed- 
stead imitated the sky with the seven planets and constel- 
lations. The mosaic floor represented a map of the world 
with the seas, rivers, mountains and chief cities. 

At an early period the nations of Western Europe knew 



the bed with headboard and footboard, and tester supported 
on four posts, with canopies resembling the roof of a house, 
and with curtains hanging from the cornice or arranged in 
the form of a tent. The coldness of the houses rendered 
curtains a necessity. As time wore on, the canopy, curtains 
and other furnishings became more luxurious. The canopy 
was often attached to the wall and the bed was placed under 
it. The richly embroidered curtains could be looped back or 
closely drawn, as the sleeper pleased. By this time, the bed 
had become a valuable possession, not solely because of its 
handsome frame and canopy, but owing to its " furniture " 
— its down pillows and coverlets, its soft mattresses of 
down and feathers or " flock," its lavender-scented sheets 
bleached in the dew or moonshine, its counterpanes of 
wadded scarlet silk, embroidered satin, cloth of gold, or vair, 
or miniver, and its heavy curtains. 

In the Fourteenth Century the bed-chamber was of great 
importance, for kings received their courtiers and granted 
audiences in their sleeping-apartments, leaving the great hall 
for festivities and ceremonials of occasion and state. 

Going to bed in Mediaeval times was something of a 
ceremony for both knight and king. It took the latter quite 
a long time to prepare himself for the night. First, a page 
took a torch and went to the wardrobe where the bedding 
was kept. The articles were brought out by the keeper to 
four yeomen, who made the bed, while the page held the 
torch at the foot. One of the yeomen searched the straw 
with his dagger, and when he found there was no evil thing 
hidden there he laid a bed of down on the straw and threw 
himself upon it. Then the bed of down was well beaten 
and a bolster laid in the proper place. The sheets were 
spread, and over them a fustian. Over this a " pane-sheet," 
which we now call a counterpane. Then the sheets were 
turned down and pillows laid on the bolster, after which 


» t » » 

Plate LXXIV 

Bed of the Marechal d'Effiat 
Clunv Museum 

The Bed 

the yeomen made a cross and kissed the bed. An angel 
carved in wood was placed beside the bed, and the curtains 
let down. After this, a gentleman usher brought the king's 
sword and placed it at the bed's head, and a groom, or page, 
was put in custody of the apartment, which he watched 
with a light burning until the king retired to rest. 

Notwithstanding their massiveness, these beds were some- 
times carried from place to place. For example, a bed 
belonging to Richard III. was taken by him to the Blue 
Boar, Leicester, the night before the battle of Bosworth, in 
1485. Richard was slain in this battle, and as the bed was 
unclaimed, the innkeeper held possession of it. A hundred 
years later a chambermaid while sweeping struck the bottom 
accidentally and some gold pieces fell out. The bottom, the 
headboard and the great swelling pillars were found to 'be 
hollow and full of money of the time of King Richard. 
Old beds are rare and are much prized by the museums that 
own them. The Louvre has a valuable Venetian bed of the 
Fifteenth Century, a handsome though heavy composition. 
It stands on lions' feet, has grooved columns, and a canopy 
bordered with a frieze of foliage. The carving is gilt and 
stands out boldly from a background of blue. 

Pictures and prints give the best idea of the Italian 
furniture of this age. The beautiful bed and charming bed- 
room in Carpaccio's Dream of St. Ursula is a correct repre- 
sentation of a bedstead of the Fifteenth Century. 

Peter Flotner copied a Venetian bed from a plate in the 
Dream of Polyphilus (Venice, 1499), and made the Venetian 
bed popular. This bed had slender balusters standing on 
lions' paws and supporting the canopy. This type of bed 
was much used in France during the Renaissance ; but the 
baluster columns were soon supplanted by caryatides. In 
the famous example in the Cluny Museum, dating from 
the period of Francois I. and represented on Plate XL, the 



transition between the balusters and caryatides is very notice- 
able. The balusters at the foot are very much carved and 
those on each side of the headboard are antique figures, — a 
mixture of Du Cerceau and Burgundian carving. 

The beds are in various styles, — some are rectangular, 
have a back, a dais supported by four balusters, and feet 
carved in the form of griffins, or chimaerse. Other examples 
are narrower at the feet than at the head, and are shaped 
like flat-bottomed boats. Three balusters, carved in the form 
of human figures, two at the head and one at the foot, 
usually uphold the dais. 

The bed was superb in the Sixteenth Century. It consisted 
of four posts and a frame, four feet, a canopy, a headboard 
and curtains. It depended for its elegance very largely 
upon its magnificent hangings, though the woodwork was 
carved, and frequently gilded, painted, or inlaid. 

In the time of Renaissance, we find the bedstead of 
supreme importance. It is carved in the richest fashion, and 
is often enriched with gilding and painting; it is also 
adorned with marquetry. The mattresses, bolsters and 
pillows are of down or feathers, the sheets and blankets of 
finest linen and wool, for which Flanders is famous; and 
the hangings are of silk, velvet, tapestry, serge, or gilded 
leather. The Renaissance bed is never allowed to stand in 
an alcove : it is far too handsome a piece of furniture for 
that. Its canopy, often richly carved, is rectangular and ex- 
actly the size of the bed, which is large; and it is no longer 
suspended by cords from the ceiling, but rests on carved or 
grooved columns. It is usually finished with a projecting 
cornice, variously ornamented, and to this cornice the curtains 
are attached. The old box bed was not extinct as is proved 
by our example on Plate LXXII. This beautiful Renaissance 
bed is owned by the Metropolitan Museum of New York. 

In almost all cases, the frame of the bed was a perfect 


• • » ■ 

••••• :*• :• : : . 
••• : %: •; .. 

Plate LXXV 

Eighteenth Century American Bedstead 
Aletropolitan Museum 

The Bed 

square resting on four carved ball feet, the frame hand- 
somely carved. At each corner rose a pillar to support the 
canopy; the headboard was carved, and behind it hung a 
piece of tapestry or damask similar to that which lined the 
cxely or canopy. Later in the century, the columns were fre- 
quently enveloped in the same material as the hangings, 
which became so important that the sculptor and joiner gave 
place to the upholsterer and embroiderer. The beds were so 
high, or built so high with mattresses, that it was impossible 
to get into them without the aid of bed-steps. 

In the second half of the Sixteenth Century the slender 
columns that supported the canopy were supplanted by 
posts of massive carving. Sometimes these posts are gaine- 
shaped figures. Caryatides often appear as columns; and 
sometimes slender pillars cut in the form of balusters, lances 
or distaffs. Some of these are grooved and some of these 
are more or less decorated with carving. 

The bed of the Princess Palatine Susanna, preserved in 
the Museum at Munich, and dated 1530, is of the slender 
type (see Plate X.). 

The camp-bed, or folding-bed, that appears so often in 
the early inventories, was often a four-poster and a very 
handsome piece of furniture. We hear of a bed in 1550 " in 
the form of a camp-bed, painted in gold and blue — the 
canopy, headboard, curtains, coverings, base and four pillars 
of scarlet red, the lining of the canopy, crimson velvet, and 
the fringes of red silk and gold thread " ; also a camp-bed, 
" the canopy and hangings of green velvet, bearing the arms 
of the owner and trimmed with fringe of green silk and 
gold " ; also a " bed in the form of a camp-bed, with great 
gilded pillars supporting a canopy which was covered like 
the headboard with cloth-of-gold and crimson velvet." The 
coverings were the same, lined with red taffeta and three 
curtains of crimson damask. 



The magnificent beds in the Palace in Nancy in 1544 in- 
cluded one of cloth of gold and silver; another of white 
damask, with patterns of gold thread, silver thread and 
blue silk; another of violet velvet with silver fringe ; another 
of black velvet; another of black velvet and crimson satin; 
another of black velvet, yellow velvet and crimson satin; 
another of yeltow satin with lilies in cloth of silver; another 
of crimson satin and cloth of gold ; another of cloth of gold, 
blue satin and cloth of silver; another of gold damask, 
crimson satin and cloth of silver. 

Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands and wife 
of Philibert of Savoy, owned in 1523 a camp, or folding- 
bed, with hangings of cloth of gold embroidered with gold 
thread and silk ; also a canopy for a camp-bed covered with 
cloth of gold and trimmed with a fringe of black silk and 
gold threads; and a canopy counterpane and three curtains 
of green taffeta lined with black and a " pavilion as a pro- 
tection against flies, which was made of threads of grey 
and yellow silk." 

Handsome beds in France, as well as in England, had 
special names. Among the possessions of the Crown was 
one called the " England Bed " (lit d'Angleterre) because 
the arms of England were embroidered upon it. The hang- 
ings were violet velvet and cloth of gold. Another bed was 
called " lit des satyrs," because Diana and her nymphs and 
satyrs were embroidered upon it, and another was called 
'" lit de Melusine/' because Melusine was represented on the 
headboard as bathing in a fountain. 

The massive Elizabethan bedstead lasted long. It is a 
good example of the style. Oliver Cromwell's bed and the 
Great Bed of Ware was so large that it could hold twelve 
persons. The Tudor bed was superb : it was richly carved 
on headboard, canopy, tester, columns and panels, and the 
columns or posts were also a mass of carving. Often they 



Plate LXXVI 

Louis XVI. Bedstead. Gilt Frame with Tapestry 
Panels and Curtains of White Silk 

The Bed 

swelled out into the acorn-shaped bulb and sometimes at 
the sides of the headboard stood terminal figures of men 
or women, or angels that were intended for supports for 
looping back the curtains. Many of these carved oak bed- 
steads were imported from Flanders. The sheets were of 
the finest linen, the blankets were soft and fine, the counter- 
pane was of marvellous needlework, and there were quilts 
of silk and rugs of fur to make the sleeper luxuriously 
comfortable. The richest curtains were of silk, satin, velvet, 
samite or tapestry, and the less expensive ones of serge, 
linsey-woolsey, or kidderminster. Scarlet cloth was also 
used, and kidderminster flowered green and white was an- 
other favorite hanging. The favorite colors were red, green, 
yellow, and blue. White was little used. 

In Scone Palace, Perthshire, there is a bed that Mary 
Stuart slept in, which is draped with hangings that she is 
said to have worked while at Lochleven. 

Under the big bed, which sometimes stood upon a low 
platform, the trundle, or truckle, bed was rolled in the day- 
time. It was pulled out at night. 

Early in the Seventeenth Century, the bed in which up- 
holstery had superseded carving had been growing in favor, 
and the lit en housse, as it was called, became the typical bed 
of this period. It is the one that appears in Abraham Bosse's 
engravings whenever a bed is introduced in the homes of the 
tradesmen and school-teachers, in hospitals, as well as in the 
homes of the rich. The framework of this style of bed is 
of comparatively little importance. The canopy or del is 
supported on four posts which are carved or painted or 
covered with the same material as the curtains. Beneath the 
valance and under the curtains a rod ran for the support of 
the curtains which were drawn up or down by means of 
cords and pulleys. The handsomest beds were draped with 
tapestry, silk damask, brocade, or velvet, often edged with 



a narrow silk fringe, or a fringe of gold or silver, and often 
were trimmed with gold or silver lace or braid, and some- 
times cord and tassels. For less expensive beds, the cur- 
tains were made of serge, cloth or linen, or cotton materials, 
or East India goods, and lined with silk, or less rich mate- 
rial. The four corners of the canopy were adorned with a 
carved or turned wooden ornament, or knob called a 
*' pomme" which was often gilded or painted, a bunch of 
feathers, or a " bouquet " made of ravelled silk threads. 

A characteristic bed of this kind is shown on Plate 
LXXIIL, dating from the early Seventeenth Century. It 
is from the Corsini Palace, Florence, and is of the style of 
beds shown in Abraham Bosse's prints and familiar through- 
out Europe. (See also Plate LXXIV.) 

Another typical bed of this period was the lit de baldaquin. 
This had no columns or posts, and the baldachin was 
slightly smaller than the bed over which it was hung. If a 
dome surmounted the baldachin, the bed was called the lit 
a I' imperial e. The " pavilion " bed was probably very 

When New England, New York and Virginia were settled, 
during the first quarter of the Seventeenth Century, the 
prevailing style of household furniture was early Jacobean. 

The most typical room in the home of average means 
was the hall, which, in general, was used as a sitting-room, 
drawing-room, and bedroom. Even in the wealthiest homes 
of the early settlers of this country, the bed was scarcely 
ever absent in any room. 

A bed of the earliest Louis XIV. Style was owned by 
Moliere (1622- 1673), for among the objects offered for 
sale after his death, we find : " A couch with feet represent- 
ing eaglet's claws, painted a bronze green with a painted 
and gilded headboard; a canopy with an azure blue back- 
ground, carved and gilded, with four eagles in relief, on 


> > s ' • ' * 

J > ' , ' ^ 'J J* 

''^ s 

rhe Bed 

gilded wood, four knobs shaped like vases, also of gilded 
wood; the canopy draped inside with gold and green 
taffeta; the valances of the bed, same material, all finished 
off with gold and green fringes. A smaller canopy within 
the larger one, of gilded wood, carved to represent a bell, 
draped outside with grey taffeta embroidered with gold 
twist, finished off with gold silk fringe, and lined with 
Avignon taffeta. Inside hangings of the same taffeta with 
fringe." The celebrated actor and playwright also had "a 
little couch of joiner's wood with a border of gilded wood 
and feet representing eaglet's claws." This was supplied 
with two mattresses, one of which was covered with green 
satin with a floral design; and a bolster, similarly covered. 
This was valued at loo livres. A similar couch with two 
bolsters, two mattresses and two pillows, all covered with 
satin, was valued at 140 livres. 

The lit en housse continued into the reign of Louis XIV. ; 
but the typical bed in this period was devoid of columns, and 
was known as the lit d'ange. The curtains were looped 
back, and the canopy, which was the same width as the bed, 
was not so long. The bed was furnished with a headboard, 
but not a footboard. Squares of drapery that repeated the 
same trimmings as the valance around the del, or canopy, 
were placed around the mattress to form a lower valance. 
The counterpane was stretched tightly across the bed and a 
round bolster was placed at the headboard. Pillows were 
never used. Behind the headboard, a straight piece of 
drapery hung from the canopy, which was decorated with 
pommes or knobs. The lit d'ange was generally about 11 
feet high, 6 feet wide and 7 feet long. The lit d'ange con- 
tinued in fashion for about a hundred years. 

Another variety was the lit a la duchesse, which was like 
the lit d'ange with one exception, — the canopy had to cover 
the entire bed (though occasionally we come across a lit a la 



duchesse with demi del). The pavilion bed and the lit d 
rimperiale also continued in fashion. The King owned a 
superb imperiale of yellow damask, embroidered in silver 
in a charming design of leaves, berries and seeds. The 
trimming was a fringe of reddish purple chenille of the 
shade that was so fashionable then, called amaranth. 

The bed was always vu de pied, that is to say, it stood out 
in the room with the head against the wall. 

The Louis XIV. Style crossed the Channel as the style 
refugie (see page 53). 

The Marot bed depended upon upholstery for its splendor. 
The bedstead consisted of a light frame supporting a canopy 
on the four corners of which the 
" pomme " still held its place. In this 
period, it not only consisted of a wooden 
or gilded apple, or knob, but often a 
bunch of ostrich feathers. The canopy, 
curtains, valance, and counterpane were 
of brocade, silk, satin, velvet, chintz, or 
white dimity worked in colored crewels, 
or worsted. Three beds of this period 
are still in Hampton Court Palace. Wil- 
liam's bed, which is about fifteen feet 
high, and covered with crimson damask; Mary's, which is 
smaller, and covered with crimson velvet; and a much 
handsomer one called '' Queen Anne's bed," which is up- 
holstered in rich Genoa velvet of white ground, with de- 
signs of crimson and orange stamped or cut out upon it. 

In the days of Louis XV. the bed was placed opposite the 
windows, with its head against the wall, and, in very wealthy 
homes, frequently stood in an alcove behind a balustrade. 
According to D'Aviler, white and gold was the choicest 
decoration, particularly if the wall behind the balustrade, 
where the bed stood, was covered with blue silk. The bed 



» > » 



a ^ in 

rhe Bed 

itself was draped with curtains of blue and white silk, richly 
ornamented with gold braid. (See LXXV.) 

In smaller apartments and simpler homes, the bed was 
frequently placed in a niche. Sometimes the bed stood with 
its head to the wall (vu de pied), and sometimes it was 
turned sideways, in which case a false bolster was placed at 
the footboard for the sake of symmetry. This bed, there- 
fore, was called the lit a deux chevets (the two-bolster bed). 

The boudoir generally contained an alcove, in which stood 
a sofa-bed, or " lit de repos.'' The alcove was hung with 
draperies that matched the wandow-curtains. Beds were of 
many kinds. The great lit d'ange and the lit a Vimperiale 
still continued popular ; but the draperies followed the fashion 
of the day, and were looped up in festoons and ornamented 
with choux, or cabbage knots. Sofa and alcove-beds were 
more in demand than any others ; and among them was the 
lit d'anglaise, which appeared in 1 750. The lit a la polonaise 
was another favorite. It had four columns and a canopy; 
and the latter was decorated with a bunch of feathers at 
each corner and in the centre. The lit en ottomane was an- 
other sofa-bed, which dates from 
about 1765, and which had a dome 
and curtains; the lit a romainey 
which became popular about 1760, 
had a canopy and four festooned 
curtains ; the lit a la turque, popular 
from about 1755 to 1780, was a sort 
of sofa with three backs; the lit a lit-X-tombeau, louis xv. 
tiilipe and lit a fleche were so called 

because in the one case the curtains fell from a sort of 
bronze, copper, or gilded tulip, and in the other, from an 
ornamental arrow fixed to the pavilion. Last of all, there 
was the lit a tomheau, called in England the single-headed 
couch or field-bed, with a slanting canopy that was sup- 



ported on four posts, the two at the head being much taller 
than those at the foot. The lit a double tombeau had 
posts of equal height, and the curtains fell down the sides 
in slants of equal length. These sofa-beds were smothered 
in draperies, gracefully looped or cut in points and scallops. 
Great use was made of tassels. Colors having become lighter 
than in the reign of Louis XIV., pale hues of blue, yellow, 
rose and green supplanted the heavier reds, greens, blues 
and purples. 

Chippendale includes among his plates Dome-Beds, 
Canopy-Beds, Gothic Beds, Chinese Beds, Field-Beds, Tent- 
Beds, Couch-Beds, Sofa-Beds, as well as independent draw- 
ings for bedposts and cornices. His four-posted bedsteads 
are large: 7 feet 6 inches long; 6 feet 4 inches high; 
and 5 feet wide. A carved cornice surrounds the canopy, 
and contains hidden from sight an intricate arrangement of 
laths and pulleys by which the curtains are drawn and raised. 
Chippendale's pillars are always handsomely carved; his 
cornices are carved, gilt, painted or japanned and brightened 
with gold; and his draperies consist of the most elaborate 
festoons and curtains. A long, tightly-rolled bolster is al- 
ways placed just below the headboard, and pillows are never 

Some of Chippendale's sofas can be turned into beds 
when desired. He describes one as follows: "A Chinese 
Canopy, with Curtains and Valances tied up in Drapery, 
and may be converted into a Bed by making the front part of 
the seat to draw forward, and the sides made to fold and 
turn in with strong iron hinges and a proper stretcher to 
keep out and support the sides when open. The curtains 
must be likewise made to come forward, and when let down 
will form a Tent." Another is a "Chinese Sopha with a 
canopy over it, with its curtains and vallens all tied up in 
drapery. This design may be converted into a bed by having 




< 3 






rhe Bed 

the Sopha so made as to come forward, the curtains to draw 
to the front of the Sopha, and hang sloping, which will fonn 
a sort of tent, and look very grand. The ornaments are 
designed for burnished gold." 

The framework of Heppel white beds is much lighter in 
appearance than Chippendale's. 

According to Heppelwhite's Cabinet-Maker and Uphol- 
sterer's Guide, " Beds are an article of much importance, as 
well on account of the great expense attending them as the 
variety of shapes and the high degree of 
elegance attending them. They may be 
executed of almost every stuff the loom 
produces. White dimity, plain or corded, 
is peculiarly applicable for the furniture 
which, with a fringe or gymp-head, pro- 
duces an effect of elegance and neatness 
truly agreeable. Printed cottons and 
linens are also very suitable, the ele- 

j . , r j.^ i- 1 • « HEPPELWHTTE BED, 1 788 

gance and variety of patterns of which 
afford as much scope for taste, elegance and simplicity 
as the most lively fancy can wish. In general the lin- 
ing to these kinds of furniture is a plain white cotton." 
The same authority contains : " In state rooms where a 
high degree of elegance and grandeur are wanted, beds 
are frequently made of silk or satin, figured or plain, also 
of velvet with gold fringes," etc. The Vallance to ele- 
gant beds should always be gathered full, which is called a 
Petticoat Vallance. The cornices may be either of mahog- 
any carved, carved and gilt, or painted and japanned. The 
ornaments over the cornices may be in the same manner, 
and carved and gilt, or japanned, will produce the most 
lively effect. Among Heppelwhite's designs were " Vene- 
tian, or waggon-top beds," " dome-top beds," " square 
dome-top beds," " press-beds," and " field-beds." The press- 



bed is a folding-bed in the shape of a wardrobe, and the 
field-beds, *' single-headed " and " double-headed," are noth- 
ing more nor less than the French lit a tombeau. " Sweeps 
for field-bed tops " received a great deal of attention from 
,the firm of Heppelwhite. Urns form the finish to the bed- 
posts. An ordinary American bedstead of the Eighteenth 
Century which survived into the succeeding one appears on 
Plate LXXV., and is of a type familiar to many of the 
present generation. 

The bed that the Marquise de Pompadour had at Marly, 
draped in a lovely silk of blue and white stripes, upon which 
bouquets of flowers were also woven, anticipates the new 
style, for, as has been noted, the designers who were respon- 
sible for the coming Louis XVI. style were already at work 
in the days of Louis XV. Of all beds in the Louis XVL 
period, the alcove, sofa and niche beds were the favorites. 
Ranson, Delafosse and Salembier made many drawings of 
beds, in all of which drapery was of the greatest importance. 
The beds called a la polonaise, a la turque, a la chinoise, a 
tomheau, a double tombeau and a Vanglaise were all va- 
rieties of the sofa, supplied with a decorative canopy, two 
bolsters and curtains. The canopy became smaller and 
smaller until the curtains were held by a ring or crown. 
The lit a couronne, as it was called, long remained popular ; 
but the lit a la dauphine, which was light and graceful, and 
had a dome, enjoyed but short favor. 

Beds were sumptuous in the reign of Louis XVI. and 
some of them were extraordinary in price. The King had 
one bed that cost, with its curtains, 82,000 livres, and Marie 
Antoinette had one that cost more than 1 30,000 livres. 

A handsome specimen of this period appears on Plate 
LXXVI. The woodwork is carved and gilt and the tapestry 
consists of garlands and flowers in various colors on a white 
ground. The curtains are white silk. 


».».»» » 

Plate LXXX 

Sixteenth Century Chairs 
Flemish, covered with Leather, Swiss Sgabello 

Cluny Museum Metropolitan Museum 

French, Carved Italian Folding-Chair 

Louvre Cluny Museum 

The Bed 

The " lit anglais/' or " sofa-bed," was the most popular, 
and there were many varieties of it. In 1773, M. Carre, Rue 
d'Enfer, has for sale a yellow damask ''lit a Vanglaise,'' 
which is also a sofa, being five feet wide and six feet long, 
the woodwork of walnut, carved and strengthened with 
iron. In 1785, a " cane bed, with three backs, that can serve 
as an ottoman in a summer drawing-room " is offered for 

In a long list of beds owned by rich Parisians, we read of 
a lit a hoiisse of crimson velvet embroidered with gold, 
Marechal Due d'Estrees (1771) ; lit a la polonaise, of blue 
damask and moire, Boucher the painter (1771) ; lit a housse 
of green damask, Madame Favart (1772); embroidered 
muslin bed, the Due de Bouillon (1772) ; lit de perse, white 
background with cut-out figures, the Duchesse de Brissac 
(1773) ; Indian damask. Chevalier d'Hestin (1775) ; crim- 
son velvet with gold braid, Due de Saint-Aignan (1776); 
yellow satin embroidered with gold flowers. Marquise de 
Courcillon (1777) ; five beds of yellow damask (one cost- 
ing 24,000 livres), in 1779; and crimson and white moire, la 
Comtesse de Berulle (1779). From 1780 to 1787 we hear 
of blue and white damask, crimson and white brocade, blue 
and white moire, blue satin embroidered with gold, blue and 
white brocade, green damask, blue damask and many 
Oriental stuffs. The Marquis de Menars had a beautiful 
bed of blue moire embroidered in various subjects in 1787; 
the Due d'Orleans a lit a la duchesse of silver velvet with 
flowers and fringe of gold, and in 1787 the financier 
Beaujon, had a dome-bed hung with Gobelin tapestry. 

The niche with its draped sofa-bed still continued popular ; 
but the form of the bed changed. The grooved legs and 
posts were visible between the folds of the damask or velvet 
curtains; the canopy was generally circular, gilt or painted 
in light gray, and carved with garlands of flowers, rows of 



beads and rosettes, and brightened with lines of gold. The 
mattresses were soft, and the pillows and bolsters were down. 

As a rule, the headboard and footboard of beds were 
alike if the bed was vu de face, that is to say, placed side- 
ways against the wall, and of unequal size if vu de pied 
(seen from the foot), or placed in the corner. It is from 
this period that the latter kind, lit de coin, dates. 

The head and footboard were left plain or covered. 
Sometimes they were painted or lacquered or of gilded 
wood or of natural wood ornamented with bronze gilt or 
moulu decorations. The use of veined woods gradually did 
away with covering the head and footboards. 

The column seldom appears. When it does, however, it 
is very light (occasionally of iron) and covered with the 
same material as the curtains. The beds are draped in 
muslin, Persian, silk, etc., and trimmed with bows of ribbon, 
festoons, etc., etc. The canopies or baldachins are much 
smaller than the beds. Folding beds are not uncommon. In 
1 78 1, a bed in the form of a commode, garnished with 
copper, is offered; and in 1785 a French newspaper ad- 
vertises " a pretty bed enclosed in a secretary made of ma- 
hogany, or moulu adornments, seven feet high and three 
and a half feet wide. In 1783 the Marquis de Vigean has a 
lit d'antichamhre enclosed in a secretary, and in 1784 Ma- 
dame Le Gras a " bed of crimson damask enclosed in an 
armoire en secretaire/' 

Sofas are so closely allied to beds that it is difficult in the 
last days of Louis XVI. to tell the difference between 
them. The draped sofa is described variously as lit de repos, 
chaise longue, duchesse, hcrgere, a la turque, a la polonaise, 
a la chinoise; and we even find plates labelled " sofa-bed (i 
Vantique." The latter leads into the styles of the early 
Nineteenth Century. 

The Cabinet des Modes from 1786 to 1790 gives examples 


































The Bed 

of furniture that merge into the style of the Directoire. A 
bed in the form of a pulpit, and another called bed a la 
turque appear in the volume for 1 786 ; and among the plates 
in the volume for 1790 there is a lit de la federation. At 
this period, when the boudoir had become a political cabinet, 
and the graceful pictures of Boucher and Fragonard had 
given place to coarse caricatures and prints and pictures 
for the destroyed Bastille, France reclined in antique arm- 
chairs and slept in " patriotic beds." The fasces of lances 
formed the bed-posts, and these were surmounted by the 
Liberty Cap. " She also slept," to quote from De Goncourt, 
" in the lit de federation of four columns in the form of 
fasces, grooved and painted in greyish white, varnished, 
with the stems of the fasces gilded, as well as the axes and 
iron supports of the canopy." The bed used during the 
Directoire period was larger than the Louis XVL bed, but, 
generally speaking, it was somewhat low and supplied with 
a couple of mattresses. In some, headboard and foot- 
board were of equal height; in others, only the headboard 

During the Empire, the beds were of 
mahogany ornamented with bronze trim- 
mings (see Plate LXXVIL), or the 
frames were painted and decorated in 
imitation of bronze. Some of the beds 
were square, some were rounded and 
some were shaped like a boat and some 
like a shell. Some of them had pilas- 
ters that supported vases, busts, or stat- 
uettes. The typical bed, however, which 
lasted long into the century and which has never gone out 
of fashion, had a headboard and footboard of equal height 
and heavy scrolled ends. This is still known as the " French 
bed." The proper way to place it in a room is to have one 




side against the wall. At each end should be placed a 
bolster that follows the outline of the scroll. During the 
Empire period, curtains were hung from a canopy in the 
shape of a crown, or thrown with studied carelessness over 
an arrow. Sometimes the heavy curtains were draped over 
thin curtains of gauze or muslin. 

Sheraton's beds are most elaborate. They include French 
beds, dome-beds, canopy-beds, state beds, alcove-beds, sofa- 
beds and field-beds, all in the latest styles in vogue on both 
sides of the Channel. 

At first he follows the beds that were popular in France 
in the days of Louis XVI., and makes many varieties of the 
high-post and sofa-bed. The " sofa-bed " 
is, of course, the lit anglaise so fashionable 
in France, with its two ends alike and its 
two bolsters. " The frames of these beds," 
writes Sheraton, " are sometimes painted 
in ornaments to suit the furniture. But 
when the furniture is of very rich silk, they 
are done in white and gold and the orna- 
BED BY SHERATON, mcuts carvcd. The roses which tuck up 
^ the curtains are formed by silk cord, etc., 

on the wall to suit the hangings; and observe that the 
centre rose contains a brass hook and socket, which will 
unhook so that the curtains will come forward and en- 
tirely enclose the whole bed. The sofa part is sometimes 
made without any back, in the manner of a couch. It must 
also be observed that the best kind of these beds have what 
the upholsterers call a fluting, which is done by a slight frame 
of wood, fastened to the wall, on which is strained in 
straight puckers some of the same stuff of which the cur- 
tains are made." 

The lit a la duchesse he calls " Duchess, a kind of bed 
composed of three parts, or a chair at each end and stool 


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The Bed 

between them. They are only intended for a single lady, 
and are, therefore, not more than about 30 inches wide. 
The chair ends, when apart, have the appearance of large 
arm or fauteuil chairs and the middle part may be used as 
a stool. The tester is made to fold. The arms of the chair 
part are dolphins and an acanthus spray ending in a scroll 
ornaments the back. The duchess is covered with a striped 
material, a square or round cushion is at each end, and the 
drapery is composed of two curtains falling from a kind of 
dome (ornamented by a pineapple or pomme) while a scarf 
is slipped through rings and forms a swag in front of the 
dome and two festoons at each side." 

In 1803, Sheraton notes that within the past few years 
cane has been introduced into the ends of mahogany beds 
" for the purpose of keeping in the bed clothes. Sometimes 
the bottom of beds are caned." He also mentions that bed 
steps are caned. 

Sheraton preferred a firm bed to the ancient one of 
down, or feathers. He recommended a straw mattress, 
then a flock mattress, then a feather bed, and, last of all, a 
hair mattress. 

England and France exchanged styles ; for we read in an 
English fashion magazine of a novelty "lately imported 
from Paris, and represents one of those pieces of furni- 
ture which are consequent on the reciprocal exchanges of 
British and French taste : it is an English bed with corner 
posts decorated agreeably to Parisian fancy. The frame- 
work is made of rosewood ornamented with carved foliage, 
gilt in matt and burnished gold. The drapery is of rose- 
colored silk lined with azure blue and consists of one 
curtain, gathered up at the ring in the centre of the canopy 
being full enough to form the festoons and curtains both of 
the head and foot. The elegance of this bed greatly de- 
pends on the choice, arrangement and modification of the 



three primitive colors, blue, yellow and red; and in the 
combination of these, its chasteness or gaiety may be 
augmented or abridged." The curtain is edged with 

The fashionable English designs of 1816 show that drap- 
eries were of more importance than the woodwork. One has 
curtains of pea-green, poppy red, and canary very gracefully 
arranged; and one, intended for a young lady of fashion, 
has hangings of light blue silk and a tender shade of brown, 
supported by rings and rods of brass, behind which the cur- 
tains were drawn up by cords and tassels. 

In 181 7, a canopy, or sofa-bed, has draperies of silk 
ornamented with gold lace and fringe; the linings were of 
lilac and buff. These curtains, which fell from a kind of 
crown, were dark green. A muslin embroidered drapery 
was used as a covering in the daytime. 

In 1822, an English decorator remarks: "The taste for 
French furniture is carried to such an extent that most 
elegantly furnished mansions, particularly 
the sleeping-rooms, are fitted up in the 
French style; and we must confess, that, 
while the antique forms the basis of their 
decorative and ornamental furniture, it will 
deservedly continue in repute." He then 
gives a fine plate representing " a sofa, or 
soFA-BED,^MPiRE Frcuch bcd, designed and decorated in the 
French style " and " adapted for apartments 
'|pf superior elegance." The sofa is highly ornamented with 
Grecian ornaments in burnished and matt gold. The cush- 
ions and inner coverlids are of white satin. The outer cov- 
ering is of muslin in order to display the ornaments to ad- 
vantage and bear out the richness of the canopy. The dome 
is composed of alternate pink and gold fluting, surrounded 
with ostrich feathers, forming a novel, light and elegant 



Seventeenth Century Chairs 
Corner Chair with Rush Seat "Low-leather" Chair 

and "Spanish Feet" Flemish 

Carved Oak (1670) Turned Chair 

Metropolitan Museum 

rhe Bed 

effect; the drapery is green satin with a salmon-colored 
Hning silk and lined with pink taffeta. 

The shape of the sofa was what we should designate as 
Empire. The ornaments that the decorator speaks of were 
at one end a big horn of plenty filled with flowers and end- 
ing in a bird, the head of which lay upon the floor. The 
other end also terminated in a bird and curved upwards in 
the form of a scroll. 

Though the French beds and sofa-beds were fashionable 
in the first quarter of the century, the high-post and field-bed 
had not gone out of favor. We hear of mahogany carved 
bedsteads, maple carved bedsteads and down beds with pil- 
lows (1822) ; a bureau bedstead (1823) ; four-post curled 
mahogany bedsteads (1823); carved and plain mahogany 
high-post bedsteads, curled maple do. with screws and 
improved joints (1823); a ''superb mahogany high-post 
bedstead with elegant cornishes," cost $100 in 1824; ma- 
hogany and curled maple and field-bedsteads (1824) ; rose- 
wood, mahogany, plain and curled maple bedsteads, with a 
variety of French patterns (1825) ; French bedsteads, ma- 
hogany and field-bedsteads (1825) ; French bedsteads with 
curtains (1825); rosewood, mahogany and French and 
curled maple bedsteads (1826); mahogany high-post and 
French bedsteads (1826); and maple high-post and field- 
bedsteads (1826). 




THE climatic conditions of the valley of the Eu- 
phrates were not so favorable for the preservation 
of objects fashioned out of wood as were the tombs 
of the Nile valley, and, therefore, we have only carvings 
on the monuments and some fragmentary metal-work as 
examples of Babylonian furniture. The chairs resemble 
those of Egypt in character, animals and captives entering 
into the decoration. The lion, bull, ram and horse fre- 
quently occur in whole, or part. Beautifully carved foot- 
stools also appear with feet of lions' paws and bulls' hoofs. 
The feet of the seats in the Assyrian sculptures at Khorsa- 
bad resemble inverted pine-cones. 

The couches were similarly orna- 
mented and supplied like the chairs 
with luxurious cushions. A slab of 
the Seventh Century B. C, shows the 
king and queen taking a meal in their 
garden. The king lies on a couch, the 
head of which curves forward and 
serves as an arm-rest. The legs and rails are square and the 
feet conical. The decoration consists of human figures, 
lions, mouldings and scrolls. The queen sits on a high, 
straight-backed chair with curved arms. This shows where 
the Greeks derived the custom of the men reclining and 
women sitting at meals. 

Netted or reed-bottomed chairs were comfortably up- 
holstered with stuffed seats and backs and richly worked 



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cushions. The seats sometimes had square, flat, leather 
cushions with painted decorations. In the course of ages, 
most of the textile materials have perished; but the wall 
paintings, such as those at Thebes, show that the chair cov- 
erings had brilliant colors and artistic patterns. 

Lower Egypt being poor in timber, cabinet woods were 
imported. Chairs of ebony and other rare woods inlaid 
with ivory were fit objects of tribute. Thus Ethiopia seems 
to have excelled in their manufacture, for they appear in 
the tributes brought to Rameses II. by his black subjects. 

The seats found in the Egyptian tombs 
which were placed there with other do- 
mestic furniture and utensils for the use 
of the mummy in the other world show 
that the native cabinet-maker produced 
work of great excellence both in taste and 
execution. The tombs, however, are the 
abodes of kings and priests and great 
officers of the land, and the chair was 
the seat of dignity. The paintings on the 
walls show that the ordinary person sat 
on the floor. In representations of in- 
teriors, such as the house of Ey, armchairs appear only in 
the dining-room. Even at social entertainments, we see 
ladies sitting on thick rugs or mats with which the floors 
are covered at all periods. 

The oldest form of seat, found in tombs of the Fourth 
Dynasty, is a carved, wooden chair with legs shaped like 
those of a lion, and provided with a cushion. It was some- 
times intended for two people, and is found as late as the 
New Empire. Under the Middle Empire it was made more 
comfortable by sloping the back and lowering the seat. It 
was usually high enough to need a footstool. 

The chairs of the kings were often very high, the arms 




were carved in the forms of animals such as running lions, 
and the lower supports were figures of bound captives. 
Very few of these have been found in the tombs ; M. Mas- 
pero did not know of one, but a specimen, owned by J. 
Howarth, Esq., is now in the British Museum. It is a 
splendid specimen of a royal seat, as the cartouche shows 
that it belonged to Queen Hatshepsut, of the Eighteenth 
Dynasty. It is apparently made of rosewood, the carved 
legs resembling those of bulls, with silver hoofs and a solid 
gold cobra twined around each leg. The arms of the chair 
are of lighter wood, having cobras carved on the flat in low 
relief. The markings of the serpents are represented by 
hundreds of tiny silver annulets. 

There are several beautiful chairs of the Eleventh 
Dynasty in the Louvre and the British Museum. One that 
has preserved the original brilliance of its color has its back 
ornamented with two lotus flowers and with a row of loz- 
enges inlaid in ivory and ebony upon a red ground. 

Camp-stools were common; the legs were sometimes 
carved like the neck and head of a bird. 

The height of the chairs varied considerably. Some had 
seats on the level of the knee, and some were much lower. 
In form, the most curious one resembled the "kangaroo 
chair "of the early Victorian era. It made the sitter assume 
a posture with his knees approaching his chin. 

The Greeks had several kinds of chairs. The thronos was 
the seat of the god in the temple, and the seat of honor in the 
house, where it was reserved for the master and his guests. 
It was a large chair with low arms and a straight back of 
varying height. The home thronos was made of wood; 
those in the temples and public buildings were of marble, 
richly carved with figures and garlands. It was accompanied 
by a footstool, either separate or attached to the front legs. 
The seats were supplied with rugs, skins and cushions. 


> >•>>»<» J»> ,J 

> > J > 

Plate LXXXV 
Anglo-Dutch Chairs and Double Chair or Settee 


The diphros was a low stool without a back. It had four 
legs, either upright or crossed. The cross-legged diphros 
had a webbed seat, and could be folded. The legs often 
were carved and gracefully curved. A separate cushion 
was sometimes added for greater comfort. 

The klismos was a chair of quite modern type. The four 
legs had a graceful curve; the back inclined comfortably 
and ended in a semi-circular bar that fitted the line of the 

The diphros with upright legs was lengthened to form 
a couch (kline), which at first had no head or footboard. 
Afterwards, in addition to these, a back was 
added to one of the long sides, and a sofa 
was produced, the form of which was fa- )p^^ 
miliar in every home two generations ago. ^ \ 
This kline was made of maple, box and other roman chair and 


woods, plain and veneered. The legs were 

carved or turned, and the framework was often inlaid with 

gold, silver or ivory. 

The Romans had several forms of chairs. Most impor- 
tant was the sella curulis which dates from the days of the 
kings. It was a folding-stool with curved cross-legs. Orig- 
inally, it was made of ivory and later of metal. It was used 
as a judgment seat. 

" The simple folding-stool with crossed legs, the backless 
chair with four perpendicular legs, the chair with a high 
or low back, and the state throne were all made after Greek 
patterns. The word sella is the generic term for the differ- 
ent classes of chairs comprised in the Greek diphroi and 
klismoi; only the chair with a back to it is distinguished 
as cathedra. The form of the cathedra resembles that of 
our ordinary drawing-room chairs but for the wider, fre- 
quently semi-circular curve of the back, which greatly adds 
to the comfort of the seated person. Soft cushions, placed 



both against the back and on the seat, mark the cathedra as 
a piece of furniture belonging essentially to the women's 
apartments; the more effeminate men of a later period, 
however, used these fauteuils in preference. The legs of 
the chairs were frequently shaped in some graceful fashion, 
and adorned with valuable ornaments of metal and ivory; 
tasteful turnery was also often applied to them. Different 
from these chairs is the solium, the dignified form of which 
designates it as the seat of honor for the master of the 
house, or as the throne of rulers of the state and gods; it 
answers, therefore, to the thronos of the Greeks. The 
richly decorated back rises perpendicularly sometimes up to 
the height of the shoulders, at others above the head of the 
seated person ; two elbows, mostly of massive workmanship, 
are attached to the back." ^ 

As an article of decorative furniture, the chair was scarce 
in Europe throughout the Middle Ages and during the early 
Renaissance. It was a seat of dignity and honor, the dis- 
tinctive sign of authority and lordship, and was reserved 
for the aged, the master of the house and important per- 
sonages. Its place was between the bed and the chimney, 
fixed with its back to the wall. Its decoration was in keep- 
ing with the rest of the carved wood- work of the room. 
This chair, of which many examples exist in public and 
private collections, had a tall, straight back surmounted by a 
dais and the arms. The seat was a box or chest with a lid. 
It was raised rather high above the floor and had a step in 
front of it. This is sometimes called the prie-dieu chair, 
probably because devotional books were kept in the seat. 
The ordinary seats, however, consisted of chests and 
benches; and the chair proper is not common till the 
Fourteenth Century. 

In Germany in the Thirteenth Century, sexagonal and 

1 E. Guhl. 



Windsor Chairs 
Anglo-Dutch Chairs 

American "Colonial" Three-bar, or Banister Back, with Rush 

Metropolitan Museum 



octagonal seats, with a leg at each angle, were common. The 
requirement that the seat of justice should have four legs 
dates from this period. The Gothic chairs are often quite 
light and graceful, but most of them are of plain form and 
ornamented with very shallow carving. In this century also 
originated chairs with light iron frames; the seat was a 
cushion on webbing. During the Four- 
teenth and Fifteenth Centuries the carving 
of the high chairs was highly developed. 

In Germany as elsewhere during the 
Middle Ages, the chair was reserved for 
the lord or distinguished guest, while the 
rest of the household sat on benches, fald- 
stools, camp-stools, settles and chests. 
Splendid chairs were ornamented with 
gold, silver and ivory and inlaid woods, 
and covered with fine woven stuffs and 
cushions. The legs were sometimes bowed, 
massive and strong, and sometimes straight and slen- 
der. They were often turned. The backs were higher 
than the arms, which often consisted of two posts joined 
with leather or other material. After the Tenth Cen- 
tury, the legs and posts of the arms and back were often 
turned. The back was then often no higher than the arms, 
and the posts had their ends carved to represent heads of 
lions and other animals. If the seat was in the form of a 
chest, it was often broad enough to accommodate several 
persons. The fronts and high backs of these benches or 
settees were filled with bar and lattice-work, and the feet 
were carved like those of animals. About i loo A. D., stools 
with high backs came into general use ; and about a century 
later, we find them with woven material filling the space 
between the back posts. 

The oldest piece of furniture is in Germany, in Salzburg. 



This is a folding-chair of wood, painted red, with heads 
and feet of Hons of ivory decorating the side supports and 
bas-reHefs of ivory also forming a decoration. The seat is 
covered with stamped leather. It was said to have been given 
by Eberhard II., Archbishop of Salzburg, to the Abbess 
Gertrude 11. (1238-1252). 

The illuminated manuscripts show that chests were largely 
used as seats during the early Middle Ages. Of the rare 
pieces of furniture of earlier date than 1300, the majority 
belong to the service of the church, and when the big 
carved chairs came into general use, their decoration was 
similar to that of the Gothic choir-stalls. The chairs of the 
Fourteenth Century had carved human and animal figures, 
Gothic tracery, flower and leaf work and bas-reliefs of 
scenes of Biblical history. At this time, also, a new decora- 
tion for panels was introduced which reached its highest 
development during the Fifteenth Century. It was used 
universally on the panels of walls and furniture. This is 
known as the linen fold, and is supposed to have originally 
been meant to represent folded parchment. 

Sauval, the historian of ancient Paris, says that in the 
Louvre at that date there were no low chairs, nor folding 
seats, nor stools, that convenient kind of furniture not yet 
having been invented. In the king's chamber and in the 
queen's, there were only trestles, benches, forms and jau- 
teuils; and to make these more superb, the wood-carvers 
loaded them with a confusion of bas-reliefs and other orna- 
ments ; the carpenters surrounded them with panels and the 
painters painted them red. 

About this time, however, a light, X-shaped, folding 
chair must have been coming into use. It appears in scenes 
of social life in the illuminated manuscripts. 

An example of Italian workrnanship of the Sixteenth 
Century is given on Plate LXXX. 


^ i >- - ,' > 


Seventeenth Century Lit de Repos 

Early Eighteenth Century Folding-Chair 

Metropolitan Museum 


Oak and cedar were the woods most generally employed 
in making these chairs which were often gilded as well as 
carved and decorated with painting by the best artists. 
Towards the middle of the Sixteenth Century, the form of 
this chair was modified. The new model 
was lighter and broader in the seat. Color 
was abolished, and the carving was sometimes 
accompanied by marquetry and inlaid marble. 

There were several kinds of low chairs. 
The principal ones mentioned in French in- 
ventories are the chair with arms, chair with- 
out arms, table-chair, three-legged chair, chair 

' . . , . , ^ ENGLISH CHAIR, 

with back for sittmg beside the fire; woman s fifteenth cen- 
chair, child's little easy chair and vertugadin ^^^ 
chair. The toitr, or revolving, chair is frequently met with 

In addition to the stiff and splendid seats of ceremony, 
there were more modest seats for the use of women and 
youth in ordinary life. The tabouret was a little low seat 
covered with velvet or some carpet stuff of bright color and 
varied pattern which was used by women as they sat and 
chatted together and did their needlework. It was also called 
a placet. Cotgrave defines the tabouret as " a cushion stool, 
or a little, low stool," and the placet as " a low stool." 

In England, as on the Continent, coffers and benches 
formed the usual seats before the Tudor period. The 
Renaissance was slow in crossing the Channel, notwithstand- 
ing the encouragement given to foreign artists and work- 
men by Henry VII. As abroad, however, the tendency of 
the seats was towards lightness. The great panelled chairs 
gave way to smaller ones with turned legs, called '' thrown " 
chairs, for use in bedrooms. About 1 530, the curule-shaped 
chair became popular. The seat was of leather and leather 
bands joined the back posts. 



The high-backed bench (see Plate III.) was merely the 
chair enlarged to accommodate several persons at once. It 
had a high, panelled back usually surmounted by a dais, a 
coiTer seat, arms and a step. This high bench began to dis- 
appear together with the high and massive carved chair at 
the Renaissance, giving place to folding-seats and chairs with 
low backs. 

The dais of the Middle Ages called canapeum had disap- 
peared from the bench before the close of the Valois period, 
but the name was continued. The canape became one of the 
most important seats under Louis XIV. and his successors. 
It came into fashion about 1689 according to Furetiere, who 
wrote : " Canape, a kind of chair with a very wide back, 
capable of seating two persons. This word is new in the 
language, and some people call it sopha!' 

Of the French chairs of the Sixteenth Centur)^ De 
Champeaux writes : " The imitation of the Italian masters 
who had returned to the ancient traditions, forgotten for 
many centuries, troubled the production of the French 
school for a short time; but, in a few years, the French 
workmen had assimilated these new models, and the art 
of the cabinet-maker shone in France with a splendor 
that it had not known in Italy. The chairs of the reigns 
of Charles VIII. and Louis XII. (i 483-1 51 5) unite the 
evident characters of the two currents running in opposite 
directions and ending by mingling. Some of these chairs 
show the national style in a very pronounced manner, while 
others are very sensibly influenced by foreign principles. 
The latter belong to a school sure of itself, that knows 
antiquity but does not slavishly follow it. Several French 
provinces attained great celebrity in this art, and produced 
chairs the harmonious proportions and delicate carving of 
which can not be too highly admired. Burgundy and the 
Lyonnais, so skilful in the art of wood-carving, produced 



very remarkable examples; but they were surpassed by 
Auvergne, which seems to have made a specialty of high- 
backed chairs, enriched with arabesques and medallions, 
treated with a supple and vigorous chisel." 

The escabeau was a stool for sitting at the table only, 
and always accompanies the table in the inventories. It 
differed from the tabouret, which had four legs, by having 
board supports at each end; the surfaces of these were 
usually ornamented with carving. It was probably the 
same as the English buffet stool. Another seat of a com- 
moner kind was the selle, which Cotgrave described as 
" any ill-favored ordinary or country stool of a cheaper 
sort than the joined or buffet-stool." There was also the 
sellette, which was a very low stool. 

During the Renaissance, chairs were not ^^^^5ff 
used by womankind to the extent that they ^^^^^ 
are to-day. Cushions placed on the floor ^^^^^^^ 
were extensively used as seats by young ''^^^^^ 
women especially. The carreau, or quarreau, ^^^^f 
lasted as a seat till the Louis Quatorze period. <^^^^^ 
In 1606, Nicot describes it as "a pillow of ^—-^^ 
tapestry or other stuff, filled with wool, cotton, fifteenth cen- 

, . . . . . . 1 ' 1 1 TURY CHAIR 

hair or straw, on which people kneel in church, 
and women sit at home, busy with the needle as they gos- 
sip." The porte-carreau was a little piece of furniture with 
bulb feet, on which pillows were piled. Moliere owned one 
" of varnished wood in the Chinese style." 

In Italy upholstered chairs came into vogue as early as the 
Fifteenth Century. Velvet was the favorite material, and 
neither the style of upholstery nor form of the chair changed 
until the Seventeenth Century. These luxurious chairs were 
seats of state and not in general use. They often appear in 
portraits. For instance, Pope Sixtus IV., by Melozzo da 
Forli, sits in one, as does Pope Leo X., by Raphael. 



In the Treasury of Saint Mark's in Venice there is a 
carved walnut chair, with a high back, which is said to 
have been used as the Doge's throne from the time it was 
made, — at the beginning of the Sixteenth Century. It is 
of beautiful proportions and beautifully carved. The 
decoration is much like the marriage-coffers of the period 
and also the anno ires. 

The chairs at the beginning of the Sixteenth Century 
were painted, as they were in the Middle Ages, to match 
the rest of the furniture. The high-backed chair was the 
same in France as in Italy. The low-backed chair was 
square, or in the form of a trapeze, either with or without 
arms, and with a narrow or straight back. 

During the greater part of the Sixteenth Century the 
favorite seat was what is known as the Spanish Chair. It 
is a square chair with high back, carved arms, turned legs 
and connecting rails, the front bar being broad and variously 
carved and decorated. The back posts and arms usually 
terminate in heads of lions or other animals. The seat 
and back were frequently covered with some rich woven 
and embroidered stuff, fixed to the frame with large-headed 
nails. The more correct material, however, was stamped 
Spanish leather. 

The faudesteuil swarms in the inventories of the rich in 
the Seventeenth Century. Being upholstered with leather 
or woven stuff, it was not carved except on the arms, the 
framework being decorated with painting and gilding, and 
in Italy and Spain with marquetry. 

The Spaniards of the Renaissance made considerable use 
of the Italian tarsia methods of decoration, but still more 
of marquetry, produced by mauresque artists. Spanish 
cathedrals and churches still possess numerous folding-chairs 
of this period. The ornamentation consists of delicate 
geometrical patterns of inlaid wood, bone, white or stained 







o O 



ivory, and tin. Similar chairs were made in Venice in 
imitation of the work imported from Egypt and Syria. 
■ As is the case in other countries, we have to turn to the 
choir-stalls of the Spanish Cathedrals for the beginning of 
the modern chair. It is supposed from the Germanic style 
of the figures and ornamentation that the earliest wood- 
carvers that worked in Spain were from the Low Coun- 
tries; but about the beginning of the Sixteenth Century 
the carvers seem to have been entirely Spanish. On Plate 
LXXVIII. Italian choir-stalls of the Sixteenth Century are 

Large arm-chairs, four square in form, with the seat, 
back and arms covered with leather or embroidered stuffs, 
were used. Low stools were also common. 

Although the Spaniards, during the Renaissance, fre- 
quently used tarsia like the Italians in colored woods, in a 
great number of cases their marquetry work resembled 
rather the style of the Moorish artists. A great many 
X-shaped chairs, still in existence, are covered with delicate 
geometrical designs of wood, white or tinted ivory, and 
even metal. Some are in the Cathedral of Toledo. 

The fald-stool came into vogue in the middle of the 
Sixteenth Century. Cotgrave (1611) defined it as "a low, 
large and easy folding chair, having both a back and elbows." 
In France it was known as the faudesteuil, and was also 
called chaise hrisee, ploy ante, a tenailles, and d molette. 
In Italy, it was called a forbid; and, in Spain, de tijera, or 
scissors, on account of its X-shape. (See Plate LXXX.) 

In French inventories it appears often and in considerable 
variety under the Valois. In 1556, we read of ten chaises 
a tenailles for seats for the princesses at the table; in 1572 
a chair of walnut wood folding with hinges, and high back, 
back and seat covered with black velvet, the nails gilt; and 
in 1 589, the Isle des Hermaphrodites says that the " King 



and his two followers sat at the table in velvet chairs made 
in the style called brisees. The rest of the troupe had 
chairs which opened and shut like waffle-irons." 

Lyons was famed for the caqueteuses or caquetoires 
made there. Cotgrave defines the word as the " seat 
whereon w^omen used to sit at a meeting where they prattle 

Trevoux describes it as a " low chair with a very high 
back, and without arms, on which people gossip at their ease 
beside the fire." It came in about the middle of the Six- 
teenth Century. 

One authority says that the chaise caquefoire, or chaise 
perroquet, described all chairs of this age with open backs, 
whether composed of two, three, four or five horizontal 
rails or carved or turned backs. 

Whether the word perroquet was taken 
from the old French mast or whether it was 
called parrot chair on account of it serving 
for gossip (caqtietoire) is a subject for con- 
jecture. At any rate perroquet is used for 
the folding-chair. Saint Simon says : " Mon- 
"** ^ seigneur himself, and all who were at the 


LEATHER CHAIR, tablc had seats with backs of black leather 
tSre? seven- which could be folded up for carriage use 
raEOTH cen- and which were called perroquets." In 1690, 
we read that " folding chairs which are sup- 
ported by bands or strong canvas, to make them more flex- 
ible, are called folding chairs ; and when they have a back, 
they are called perroquet s and they are used at the table." 

A good description of this kind of chair is given in 
Catherine de' Medici's inventory. The famous Queen had 
" two little chaises caquetoires covered with tapestry and 
trimmed with fringe of green silk and fringe of gold 
threads, tufted." 


'»•»»^»»»» » 

Louis XV. Bergere 

Louis XV. Gondola Chairs with Cane Seats and Backs 
Metropolitan Museum 


Cardinal Mazarin had in 1661 twelve chaises a perroquet, 
the frames of walnut wood and covered with red crimson 
velvet trimmed with silk of the same shade. 

The chaise voyeuse seems to have been introduced in this 
reign. The side supports were continuations of the back 
legs, and the top rail was covered with a cushion. The 
back of the chair was shaped like a violin, and on the seat, 
which was very high, the gentleman sat astride, resting his 
arms on the top rail, as he observed the card-table, play, or 
the company. The voyeuse reappeared with up-to-date 
alterations in the days of Louis XVI. (See Plate XCI.) 

There were several varieties of the chair with a low back. 
It was made with and without arms, with solid and with 
open back; sometimes it was upholstered, and sometimes 
plain; the back was sometimes straight and sometimes 
slanting ; and the seat was sometimes square, and sometimes 
broader in front than at the back. These chairs that were 
relatively light and comfortable in comparison with those 
of the preceding period, are numerously represented in the 
great collections. 

The typical Flemish arm-chair of the early Seventeenth 
Century is shown on Plate LXXX. The uprights are turned, 
the double rails grooved, and the back posts terminate in 
carved lions' heads. It is upholstered with leather; the 
nails have large brass heads. 

Contemporary with this is the French chair (Plate 
LXXX.), which is similar in form and general construc- 
tion. It shows, however, the change from heaviness and 
solidity towards grace and lightness. 

Two Flemish arm-chairs in the Louvre are represented 
on Plate LXXIX. The one with the drawer under the 
seat is attributed to the end of the Sixteenth Century. The 
other, with caned back and seat, is a remarkably fine model 
of the chair that was so popular in England and the Low 



Countries from 1660 to 1700. The modern name for it is 
the *' Charles the Second Chair." 

" The Flemish chair was imported in 1690, was weak in 
construction — and is generally to be met with in a ' sprung ' 
condition as to its back — at the plane of the seat; the 
badly chosen woods in which it was all too often executed, 
have perished at the hand of Time, aided by the ' worm.' 
In character, it was ambitious, but painfully hybrid. Let 
us examine one. Portuguese scroll-turned pillars at back; 
legs and possibly stretchers of the same feeling; Spanish 
feet; brace of under-frame and back splat Flemish, with 
Louis Quatorze under-framing, the whole upholstered in 
some brilliant Flemish wool-work. Replicas of this chair 
were produced in England by the imported Flemish artisan, 
but a change came over the scene when our workmen began 
to assert themselves. Portuguese turning below the seat 
and the Spanish foot disappeared, together with the Flemish 
brace, in favor of well-ordered turning, built up more on 
the lines in vogue in France. Native wool-work took the 
place of foreign, and construction received more attention. 
Experts differ in fixing the absolute time at which the tran- 
sition took place, but the more chaste the leg and stretcher, 
the better the building and the more homely the upholster- 
ing scheme, so much the more likely that we have before 
us an example of English handiwork." ^ 

Marot kept to the term-shaped legs and flat, curved 
stretchers. His chairs are large and heavy, and usually 
have enormously high backs especially adapted for showing 
off the beautiful materials that he also designed. Some- 
times the bases were decorated with swags of drapery or 
scallops, edged with braid or fringe. He often used the 
acorn or the flattened bulb for feet. 

Mahogany was now coming into favor as a cabinet wood ; 

^ O. G. Wheeler. 

• , > » > « , ,' I ■• i » . » » » « 

» \» » »«» 

Plate XC 

Louis XV. Bergere, Cane Chairs, Upholstered Chairs and 


Metropolitan Museum 


and chair frames were made of it as well as of walnut. 
The new Anglo-Dutch styles presented the following char- 
acteristics: The leg was cabriole, ending in a hoof foot, 
and later in the ball-and-claw. Sometimes the legs were 
connected with stretchers, but as time progressed these 
were discarded altogether. The solid curved splat was jar 
or vase shaped, and there was little carving except on the 
spring of the knee. There was a tendency towards greater 
lightness. (See Plate LXXXIV.) Two chairs placed 
together formed the double chair or settee. (See Plate 

The two-chair back, or three-chair back, became popular 
in the reign of Queen Anne. This form does not consist 
solely in placing two or three chairs together, and adding 
arms, but is subject to certain laws of proportion of its 
own. The back of the chairs in the settee is always wider 
than that of the arm-chair. These two-chair back, three- 
chair back, and even four-chair back settees, appear in all 
styles, from the early jar-shaped splat and cabriole leg, 
through those that were pierced and carved in the Gothic, 
Chinese or Louis XV. style. Ladder-backs also occur in 
this form and shield-backs in the Heppelwhite period. 

In the reign of Queen Anne, the Windsor chair came 
into use, and remained in popularity for about a hundred 
and fifty years. It was made of the cheaper kinds of wood. 
(See Plate LXXXVL) 

In inventories of the early Eighteenth Century the 
" crown-back chair " is often mentioned. It appears so 
often in Hogarth's pictures that it is now generally referred 
to as a " Hogarth chair." (See Plate LXXXIV.) From 
this the famous Chippendale chair was developed. 

Moliere's inventory (1673) mentions " six chairs of var- 
nished and gilded wood with their cushions of taffeta striped 
with satin (35 livres) ; two arm-chairs of gilded wood cov- 



ered with green satin (40 livres) ; and six arm-chairs with 
sphinx figures completely gilded and provided with cushions 
for the seat and back of flowered satin with a violet ground, 
finished off with green and gold silk fringe (200 livres)." 

The lit de repos, or chaise longue (see Plate LXXXVIL), 
originated in the days of Louis XIV. It generally had a 
headboard, and, in some cases, a head and footboard, or a 
back. The seat was cane and the headboard was carved. 
Cushions added comfort. Sometimes the lit de repos was 
referred to as a canape. 

The legs and feet of the chairs in this reign are usually 
cut in a tapering form, with four sides, and ornamented 
with marquetry, paint, or gilding. The straining-rail is 
usually present and crosses the four legs, diagonally form- 
ing a sort of X. (See Plate XXV.) At the point of 
intersection a little ornament is placed. Some chairs have 
a carved front rail; others are finished with braid or 
fringe. The arms frequently end in the scrolled acanthus. 
Some of them have a cushion (manchette) on the arm. 

The arm-chair (fauteuil) was very general in ordinary 
homes. The back was more or less inclined, the arms more 
or less curved, and the seat was of cane, or covered with 
tapestry or velvet. The carved frame shows volutes, foliage, 
and figures of children. 

The canape and fauteuil were reserved for those of high- 
est rank. Prints of the end of the century show ladies 
sitting on them at court concerts. The canape was evidently 
a novelty of the end of the century. 

The canape of this period had a wide seat with a high 
sloping back, stuffed seat and back, carved arms and balus- 
ter legs. It was upholstered w^ith velvet or tapestry of 
floral and arabesque designs. 

Towards the close of the reign of Louis XIV. a new 
arm-chair appears which exhibits the dawn of the coming 


5' > J > J 
J 1 > 1 

Plate XCI 

Louis XVI. Chairs: Medallion Back, Covered with Tapestry; 
Lyre-back Voyeuse; and Lyre-back Chair 


style of Louis XV. The slightly curved back is arched, 
and the feet terminate in a carved leaf, or ** leaf-shoe." 
Other typical chairs are shown on Plate LXXXVIII. The 
one on the right is the *' Confessionale.'' 

The chairs of the Louis XV. period are charming. The 
frames show beautiful play of line and sweeping curves, 
and the arm of the fauteuil is strong and finely placed. The 
little elbow cushion, called manchette, gives an additional 
finish, and is also agreeable for the occupant. The frames 
were not only carved and gilt but painted or lacquered. In 
painting one color was generally used, brightened by 
threads of gold or white; but again several colors were 
used, and even the painting known as cama'ieux. In less 
expensive homes, however, natural woods, particularly 
beech and oak, were more common than painted frames. 
In a drawing-room suite smaller arm-chairs, called cabriolets, 
were now introduced, and these were more arched and curved 
than the large ones. In the drawing-room and boudoir, it 
was customary to place a small arm-chair by the side of, or 
directly in front of, the big arm-chair, and the cabriolet had 
to be like the big one in form and upholstery. The materials 
were tapestry, representing ^^sop's Fables or a Watteau 
picture, rich velvet or damask, with floral patterns and silk 
brocaded in colored flowers. *' Persian," a kind of chintz, 
with bright designs on a white background, was frequently 
used for the boudoir and bedrooms. The material was 
tacked to the frames by means of gilt-headed or silver- 
headed nails placed so closely that they touched one an- 
other; and occasionally a braid or lace was used to hide 
the nails. A favorite pattern was called the ** rat-tooth." 

The causeuse is also an arm-chair of very comfortable 
appearance. In the Louis XV. period the angular form of 
the frame gave way to graceful curves. The wood-work 
was gilded and carved in flower and shell-work. The back 



and seat were then covered with Beauvais tapestry, decor- 
ated with flowers and mythological subjects and country 
scenes after designs by Frangois Boucher and his school. 

The arm-chair, or fauteuil, with upholstered instead of 
open sides, makes its appearance in the set of drawing-room 
furniture. It was called chaise bergere. This chair was 
sometimes called marquise, and was frequently accom- 
panied by the tabouret, which, placed immediately in front 
of the chair, made it a kind of chaise longue. The seat was 
not very high from the floor, and was wider than it was 
deep. The bergere became fashionable, and appears in 
the designs of Chippendale, Ince and Mayhew and Heppel- 
white, in whose books its name is often printed as 
'' barjairr (See Plates LXXXIX. and XC.) 

The fauteuils have a wavy top rail, and curving arms with 
cushions (manchettes) on the elbows. Two of the period 
are described as having richly carved and silvered frames, 
the seats and backs upholstered with jonquil-colored brocade 
embossed with silver flowers. The fauteuil en confessional 
is another name for the bergere. 

The gondola arm-chair (see Plate LXXXIX.) usually 
had a back and seat of cane, and the elbows were covered 
with a cushion upholstered in leather. One leg was placed 
under each arm and one exactly in front and a fourth in 
the back. A leather cushion was often added. 

A fauteuil de commodite was also introduced, which had 
a little mahogany desk attached to the right of the chair by 
means of a gilded steel support ; and on either side of the 
chair were two sconce-arms for candles. The chair and its 
comfortable cushion were often covered with blue leather. 

Dining-room chairs followed the form of the drawing- 
room chairs, and were covered with leather, tapestry and 
" Persian," already described on the foregoing page. 
Leather was very popular for covering seats; and yellow 


> > > > » , , 
> » » ' ' -1 





3 <^ 


« ^ 5 s 

3 ^ £J. 



and blue, as well as red leather, were greatly in evidence; 
but brocade and tapestry were the favorite materials for 
the drawing-room. The coverings of seats and backs were 
put on with braid of gold, silver, or a color to match the 
textile, nailed with gilt-headed or silver-headed nails placed 
close together. 

The first little gondola sofas, with two low seats and 
rounded form, that appeared in the reign of Louis XV. and 
were popular in that of his successor, were called ottomans. 
They were usually to be seen in the boudoirs, richly carved 
and upholstered with flowered silk. Bimont mentions them 
in his Manual du Tapissier in 1756. 

The canape confident was a sofa consisting of from two 
to four seats, and at each end, by the arms, another seat 
at the corner was rounded off, and then there was another 
arm or elbow at the other side. It was very popular. 

The chaise longue was now sometimes composed of two 
sections; the principal one looked like a large fauteuil and 
the smaller one a kind of tabouret. The seats of each were 
placed so as to touch each other, the backs facing one an- 
other. The favorite seating was cane, and handsome 
cushions were added at pleasure. 

Those with gondola backs were called 
" duchess e." 

The old form, called banquette, had not 
gone out of fashion. This name occurs as 
early as 1 732 ; and as late as 1 770 the King 
owned " nine banquettes covered with crim- german 
son plush, six feet long and seventeen inches ^^^^' ^^^° 
wide, to be used at the grand convert J' and " four ban- 
quettes, each having two elbows, covered with blue velvet, 
trimmed with gold braid nailed on with gilt nails, the wood 
painted blue, picked out with gold." 

In 1736 we hear of " two banquettes of beech-wood, 




delicately carved and varnished, 24 inches long, 14 inches 
deep, and 15 inches high, with seats of cane, each supplied 
with a hair cushion, covered on both sides with crimson 
damask, tufted." 

At the end of the Louis XV. period many of the chairs 
and settees show transitional features in the legs, frame- 
work and character of the ornamentation. The curves be- 
come more restrained, the straight line becomes more in- 
sistent, and the tapering grooved leg supplants the sweeping 
cabriole. In the silk covering, too, the stripe begins to take 
the place of the floral brocades and damasks ; and garlands, 
shepherds' crooks, shepherdesses' hats, knots of ribbon and 
pastoral attributes appear in the tapestries that cover the 

During the transitional period between Louis XV. and 
Louis XVI. the backs of the chairs assume the medallion 
shape. The leaf -shoe is also removed from 
the foot by degrees, and the feet are of a 
console shape, ending in a scroll or a shell 
or a peg-top. The curves entirely disappear. 
The next change in the back of the chair 
frame is that of a sort of projecting square, 
BUREAU, BY then comes the shape of the handle of a bas- 
ket, and finally a perfect square between two 
straight columns, each of which is terminated by a steeple 
ornament. The handsomest chairs are richly carved, 
though low relief is preferred. The ornament in the 
centre of the top rail is a bow of ribbon, or a bouquet, 
or garland, of flowers, or leaves. The frames are made 
of mahogany or walnut, but more popular is a plain wood 
carved and gilded, or painted, to suit the taste of the in- 
dividual. Some mahogany and rosewood arm-chairs are 
brightened by gilded bronze ornaments. Many arm-chairs 
have removable cushions that fit into the frame of the chair. 



J J > . J ■) 

5 > > '>• 

Plate XCIII 

Eighteenth Century Ladder-back Chairs 



Occasionally the cushions are tufted. Cushions are also 
round, half round, or much flattened. Small arm-chairs are 
still called cabriolets. The tapestries of the Gobelins, Beau- 
vais and Aubusson manufactories were in high estimation as 
coverings for seats and subjects from Boucher, Fragonard 
and other artists of the period were reproduced on light 
backgrounds. Shepherds, shepherdesses, children at play, 
garlands, baskets and vases of flowers, knots of ribbon, 
Cupids, quivers hidden among blossoms, birds and bird- 
cages, and many pastoral subjects and trophies were used 
alike in tapestries and in the figured and embroidered satins 
that supplanted the old figured damask. Then the stripe be- 
came the rage, although it had enjoyed a slight vogue in the 
days of Louis XV., when it was particularly favored by 
Madame de Pompadour and also Madame Du Barry. Wind- 
ing ribbons, alternating with straight stripes, spangled with 
flowers, was a design called Dauphine, introduced at the 
time of Marie Antoinette's marriage with the Dauphin in 
1770. Another favorite device was the feather which was 
also combined with the stripe. In every design the stripe 
appeared. At first it was hidden under branches and 
flowers and ribbons and feathers ; but at length it triumphed 
over all other ornaments. All other designs were ignored 
and the stripe reigned alone. In 1788 Mercier wrote: 
" Everybody in the King's cabinet looks like a zebra." 

The stripe appeared, of course, on all the velvets, silks, 
satins and chintzes used for furniture covering. Braids 
were popular and tassels and ball- fringe much used. 

Chairs that were not stuffed in the back were often cut 
in the form of a lyre. Draped arm-chairs were called 
fauteuils a la polonaise, a la turque, a la chinoise, and prob- 
ably matched the beds and sofas of the same name. Other 
arm-chairs had great wings that extended around the sides, 
making the chair almost square in form. The fauteuil 



hergere, with straighter lines than of yore, and a more ag- 
gressive arm, still holds its place in the drawing-room, and is 
sometimes also called fauteuil confessional. It was often 
supplied with an additional cushion for the seat. At this 
time cushions of both seat and back were frequently 
stuffed with hair instead of feathers or down, and were 
sometimes also tufted. 

A peculiar chair, resembling the voyeuse (see Plate 
XCL), now appeared. It was called the voyelle. 

The back was a lyre reaching from 
the seat to the top rail. The latter was 
stuffed. Men sat astride of the seat, 
resting their arms on the rail, looking 
over the back of the chair. The voy- 
elle was a sort of lounging chair and 
had the advantage of showing off the 
immensely long coat-tails affected by 
the " Incroyables." 

In the French dining-room the 
frames of the chairs were of oak or mahogany, with turned 
bars or carved splats. Sometimes the frames were painted. 
The removable cushions were covered with velvet or leather, 
or perhaps they had cane or rush seats. 

Arm-chairs for the library desks were of mahogany or 
painted wood, of gondola form, and, as the back, and seats 
were frequently of cane, were rendered more comfortable 
with extra cushions. 

The sofa, or canape, followed the style of the chairs; 
they were of the gondola, medallion, or basket form, and 
a little lower and deeper than those of the Louis XV. 
period. Sometimes they had high wings at each end, 
which gave them a cosy appearance, and sometimes they 
had an open space under each arm. The frames were, like 
the chairs, of carved and gilded wood, or painted and gilt 



»; . \. . ... 

►5* ^ 

a > 

o G 


and covered with tapestry, or with silk, or satin, or damask. 
The small, low and rounded sofa was called ottomane, and 
a certain kind of large sofa was called ottomane a la reine. 
With this, a square or round bolster was used. To this 
period belong many varieties of the draped sofa. We find 
lit de repos, chaise longue, diichesse, hergere, d, la turque, a 
la polonaise, a la chinoise, and others, with and without 
canopies, so that the sofa merges into the bed, and the bed 
into the sofa. We also find plates labelled sofa bed a 
['antique, a model very like the scroll-end sofas of the early 
Nineteenth Century. 

The diichesse is still a combination of arm-chair and 
stool; and is often made in three instead of two divisions. 

The diichesse, the ottomane en gondole, and several 
varieties of the sofa-bed, appear in the boudoirs of the 
period. The sofa with three backs or sofa pommier, which 
became of such importance during the Directoire and Em- 
pire, now makes its advent. 

Chippendale made Gothic chairs, French 
chairs, Chinese chairs, ribbon-back chairs, 
and chairs for the hall and the garden. 
He particularly excelled as an artist in his 
use of the ribbon, tying and twisting it in 
a very charming manner. The majority chippendale chair- 
of the " Chippendale chairs " met with 
to-day have straight, square legs or cabriole ball-and-claw ; 
but his designs show many varieties, among which are the 
cabriole, ending in a kind of scroll, resting on a leaf; the 
straight leg carved with husks; the leg composed of reeds 
wrapped with ribbon (anticipating the Louis XVI. Style, 
probably taken from some up-to-date French designer), 
leg ending in a hoof with ram's head on spring of cabriole 
knee, lion's claw on a flattened ball, and leg on which a 
dragon is climbing. 



BACK, 1754 

Ribbon-back chairs are, perhaps, Chippendale's favorite- 
He says of them : " The length of the front leg is 19 inches; 
the rail of the seat (upholstered with small nails touching 
one another), is 22.yA, inches; the seat is 18 inches square; 
and the back, from seat to top rail, 2 or 23 
inches high." Chippendale adds : " If these 
seats are covered with red morocco, they 
will have a fine effect." 

A handsome ribbon-back chair appears 
on Plate XCV. Entwined ribbons and 
reversed scrolls form the splat; and in 
the centre of the top rail there is a large 
quatrefoil ribbon, from which hangs a cord and tassel. The 
legs are square, decorated with sunk panels carved with 
scrolls and rosettes at the corners. The front of the seat 
is slightly serpentine, and the cover is of needlework, 
studded with a double row of brass nails. 
■' Chippendale is very particular in giving directions for 
the proper upholstery. Thus, for a set of eighteen chairs, 
he says : \ 

" The seats look best when stuffed over the rails arid 
have a brass border neatly chased ; but are most commonly 
done with brass nails in one or two rows; 
and sometimes the nails are done to imitate 
fretwork. They are usually covered with 
the same stuff as the window curtains. 
The height of the back seldom exceeds 
twenty-two inches above the seats." 

Again for French chairs with elbows: 
'' The little moulding, round the bottom 
of the edge of the rails, has a good effect. The backs and 
seats are stuffed and covered with Spanish leather or 
damask, etc., and nailed with brass nails. The seat is 27 
inches wide in front, 22 inches from the front to the back, 


BACK, 1754 

••• •- • • • 

• •• 

• •• 

••• • •• •• •' 


and 23 inches wide behind; the height of the back is 25 
inches, and the height of the seat 14^ including casters." 

Chippendale also recommends tapestry or other sort of 
needlework for seats. 

" Nine designs of chairs after the Chinese manner are 
very proper for a lady's dressing-room; especially if it is 
hung with India paper. They will likewise suit Chinese 
temples. They have commonly cane-bottoms with loose 
cushions; but, if required, may have slipped seats and 
brass nails. The backs and seats are of fretwork. The 
seat is 19 inches deep, 17 inches long; the back 20 inches 
high, and the legs, from floor to seat, 17 inches; and those 
made of pierced fretwork are 2j4 inches wide.'' 

The dimensions of nine other chairs in " the Chinese 
manner " are as follows : Width of the square leg, 2J/2 
inches; seat front rail, i foot 10 inches; back of seat, 19 
inches; depth, I7J4; height of back, 19J/2 inches. An- 
other had a leg i J^ inches wide ; 1 7 inches high, front seat 
rail, 22J/2 inches; back of seat, 19 inches; depth, 17 inches; 
height of back from seat, 20 inches. 

The old " crown-back " survives in the chair on Plate 
XCVII. though a Chippendale model. The back is mas- 
sive, the side supports have splayed angles, and the top 
is wavy. Scrolls, foliage and blossoms run on both sides 
from a small central shell. The centre splat is of a tall 
vase form, carved and pierced with foliage, flowers and 
reversed scrolls. The legs are cabriole with, however, slight 
spring; and are carved on the knees with scroll foliage. 
The feet are spiral scrolls. 

Chippendale's " sofa for a grand apartment " differs 
little from one designed by Meissonier for the Grand Mar- 
shal of Poland in 1735. Ornate as Meissonier's canape is, 
Chippendale's is even more elaborate, for the carving con- 
sists of shells and a Cupid on the centre of the top rail, with 



two large birds and bunches of flowers below him. "If 
gilt, with burnished gold," says Chippendale, " the whole 
will have a noble appearance. The dimensions are 9 feet 
long without the scrolls, the broadest part of the seat from 
front to back, 2 feet 6 inches ; the height of the back from 
the seat, 3 feet 6 inches, and the height of the seat, i foot 
2 inches, without casters." 

When sofas are made large, " they have a bolster and 
pillow at each end and cushions at the back which may be 
laid down occasionally and form a mat- 
tress. The sizes differ greatly; but com- 
monly they are from 6 to 9 or 10 feet 
long; the depth of the seat from front to 
back, from 2 feet 3 inches to 3 feet; and 
the height of the seat, i foot 2 inches with 
CHIPPENDALE CHAIR- castcrs. Thc scrolls are 18 to to inches 

---'"■' _ high." 

Of the chaise longue Chippendale says : " This is what 
the French call Peche Mortel. They are sometimes made 
to take asunder in the middle ; one part makes a large easy 
chair and the other a stool, and the feet join in the middle, 
which looks badly. It should have a thick mattress, 6 feet 
long in the clear, and 2 feet 6 inches to 2 feet broad." This 
is, of course, the Duchesse (see page 193). 

Some of Chippendale^s " Chinese sophas " could be con- 
verted into beds, and were supplied with canopies, curtains 
and valances, while others were sofas pure and simple. He 
gives one design which consists of a French canape covered 
with silk, depicting a " gallant scene " in the style of Wat- 
teau; and over it a pagoda-shaped canopy adorned with 
bells and formal draperies in festoons. 

The open-back settee of two or more chair backs was 
also a favorite. (See Plate XCVI.) 

A Chippendale sofa in the " French style " is shown on 





a> n 


Plate XCVIL, supported on seven legs, the four front ones 
cabriole, and carved with shells at the spring and ending in 
lions' feet. The arms terminate in carved lions' heads and 
spread out gracefully. The upholstery is old English needle- 
work representing landscapes and pastoral scenes, put on 
with brass-beading. The arms are also partly covered 
with the tapestry. The piece is 5 feet 7 inches long. 

Heppelwhite furniture is valued by collectors for its 
beautiful workmanship, durability and general lightness of 
effect; and, if the proportions are not always satisfactory, 
it must be remembered that Heppelwhite frequently made 
furniture — particularly chairs — " according to the size 
of the room or pleasure of the purchaser." 

The Heppelwhite chair is very famous. Its proportions 
are : height, 3 feet i inch ; height to seat frame, 1 7 inches ; 
depth of seat 17 inches ; and width of seat in front, 20 inches. 
The legs are straight and never connected by stretchers, but 
are frequently ornamented with the husk or bell-flower inlaid 
in pale satin-wood or carved in low relief. The tapering leg 
usually ends in the " spade " foot, sometimes called the 
" Marlborough " foot. The backs are usually shield, or 
heart-shaped, and are ornamented with the three feathers 
of the Prince of Wales, the urn (draped or undraped), 
swags of drapery, festoons of the bell-flower, the lotus, 
rosette and patera, and draped tazsa. 

Although most people associate mahogany with Heppel- 
white, he did not by any means restrict himself to this wood 
for frames of seats. He writes: 

" For chairs, a new and very elegant fashion has arisen 
within these few years, of finishing them with painted or 
japanned work, which gives a rich and splendid appearance 
to the minuter parts of the ornaments, which are generally 
thrown in by the painters. Several of these designs (his 
own) are particularly adapted to this style, which allows a 



framework less massy than is. requisite for mahogany, and 
by assorting the prevailing color to the furniture and light 
of the room, affords opportunity, by the variety of grounds 
which may be introduced, to make the whole accord in har- 
mony, with a pleasing and striking effect to the eye." 

Chairs with stuffed backs Heppelwhite calls cabriole 
chairs, and gives one "" of the newest fashion." This has a 
shield-shaped back, a little cushion- on the arm fastened by 
means of tiny nails, and legs representing reeds bound with 
ribbon. A square patera hides the joining. 

Among the designs of twelve chair-backs, " proper to be 
executed in mahogany or japan," he says some of fhem are~ 
" applicable to the more elegant kind of chairs with back 
and seats of red, or blue, morocco leather; in these backs, 
which are sometimes made a little circular, are frequently 
inserted medallions, printed or painted on silk of the nat- 
ural colors; when the back and seats are of leather, they 
should be tied down with tassels of silk or thread.". 

It is noticeable that Heppelwhite generally uses the brass- 
headed hail for fastening his coverings to the frames of 
seats. These nails are placed very close together and are 
frequently arranged argund the edge of the seat in the 
form of festoons or scallops. 

For drawing-room chairs, he insists upon silks and satins, 
with printed oval medallions, or floral designs on light back- 
grounds; but he prefers the stripe to ever)rthing else. 
When blue or red morocco leather was used it was put on 
with ornamental brass nails. In some cases " the leather 
backs, or seats, should be tied down with tassels of silk or 

For the open back and curved chair, the seat covering 
was of silk, satin, leather and horsehair. The latter was 
plain, striped, figured or checked. 

" Mahogany chairs," he says, " should have the seats 


',/ ' '. > » » 

>' > \-> 














of horsehair, plain, striped, checquered, etc., at pleasure, or 
cane bottoms with cushions, the cases of which should be 
covered with the same as the curtains." 

" Stools," Heppelwhite remarks, " should match the 
chairs, the framework should be of mahogany, or japanned, 
and, of course, should be covered like the chairs." 

Among Heppelwhite's most charming creations are his 
" Window stools," in reality small sofas, the ends of which 
are alike. They are intended to be placed directly under 
the window and " their size must be regulated by the size 
of the place where they are to stand; their heights should 
not exceed the heights of the chairs." Their frames were 
like the chairs, of mahogany or painted in some light color, 
or japanned and covered like the chairs. Some of them 
had tufted seats ornamented with buttons, and some of 
them were finished with a festooned valance, decorated 
at intervals with a tiny tassel. 

The proportion of Heppelwhite's sofa was usually from 
six to seven feet in length; the depth about thirty inches; 
and the height of the seat frame fourteen inches ; height of 
the back, 3 feet i inch. " The woodwork," to quote 
from Heppelwhite's directions, " should be either mahogany 
or japanned, in accordance to the chairs, and the covering 
also must be of the same." The newest fashion was an 
oblong sofa, " the frame japanned with green on a white 
ground and the edges gilt; the covering of red morocco 

Of the confidante (see page 193), he says: "This 
piece of furniture is of French origin, and is in pretty gen- 
eral request for large and spacious suites of apartments. 
An elegant drawing-room, with modern furniture, is scarce 
complete without a confidante, the extent of which may 
be about nine feet, subject to the same regulations as sofas. 
This piece of furniture is something so constructed that 



the ends take away and leave a regular sofa ; the ends may 
be used as Barjair chairs" (see page 192). 

Of the Diichesse, he also says, " This piece of furniture 
is derived from the French. Two Barjair chairs of proper 
construction, with a stool in the middle, form the Duchesse, 
which is allotted to large and spacious ante-rooms; the 
covering may be various, as also the frameworkj,^nd made 
from six to eight feet long. The stuffing may be of the 
round manner, or low-stuffed wath a loose squab, or bordered 
cushion, fitted to each part. Confidantes, sofas and chairs 
may be stuffed in the same manner." 

The " bar-back " was a novelty. It appeared as if four 
open-back chairs were placed side by side, the end ones, of 
course, supplied with an arm. Though we are told that 
this sofa was a recent invention, it w^as only a development 
of the old double chair (see Plate LXXXV.). "The 
lightness of its appearance has procured it a favorable 
reception in the first circles of fashion. The pattern of the 
back must match the chairs; these will also regulate the 
sort of framework and covering." 

Sheraton was particularly fond of the leg reeded, turned 
and decorated with twisted flutes and fillets. We find upon 
his chair the husk, or bell-flower, the festoon, the lyre, the 
vase, the column, the lotus, the urn and the patera used to 
hide the joining of chair frames. His drawing-room fur- 
niture is preferably white and gold, rosewood, ordinary 
wood painted and japanned. Although mahogany was used 
for chairs with carved backs, they are never seen out of the 
library, dining and bedrooms. The upholstery for the 
drawing-room seats was of silk or satin in oval medallions 
or stripes. 

Sheraton writes : " It appears from some of the latest 
specimens of French chairs, some of which we have been 
favored with a view of, that they follow the antique taste, 


»» >. 

> > , > ; > 
















and introduce into their arms and legs various heads of ani- 
mals; and that mahogany is the chief wood used in their 
best chairs, into which they bring in portions of ornamental 
brass; and, in my opinion, not without a proper effect, 
when due restraint is laid on the quantity." His drawing- 
room chairs followed the French taste of the day. They 
were gilded, painted in any color and covered with silk. 
In 1792 he recommends an arm-chair of carved mahogany 
or black rosewood and gold; and '* if a brass-beading is 
put round the stuffing to hide the tacks," this chair, he tells 
us, " will produce a lively effect." Another chair frame 
he wishes " finished in burnished gold, the seat and back 
covered with printed silk. In the front rail is a table with 
a little carving in its panels. The legs and stumps have 
twisted flutes and fillets done in the turning, which produce 
a good effect in the gold." Among his designs, we find 
chairs of the latest French style, namely : "a hunting-chair 
with square back and wings," stuffed all over except the 
legs, which are of mahogany, and having a slide-out frame 
in front to make a resting-place for one that is fatigued, 
as hunters usually are ; an " easy and warm " chair for 
sick persons called a '' tub chair," with side wings com- 
ing forward to keep off the air; chairs that he calls 
" curricle " " from their being shaped like that kind of 
carriage," and another original design that he calls " Her- 
culaneum," " so named on account of their antique style 
of composition." 

His " Conversation chairs " follow precisely the model 
of the voyelle (see page 196). 

The Sheraton settees also exhibit backs similar to those of 
his chairs — particularly those known as the " Fancy Chair." 
(See Plate C) 

Among Sheraton's latest designs is a hergere (1803) 
with a caned back and seats: "The stumps and legs are 



turned," he says, " and the frames generally painted." The 
hergere is rendered more comfortable with the addition of 
loose cushions. About this time cane became very popular. 
Sheraton informs us in 1803 that " Caning cabinet work is 
now more in use than it was ever known to be. About 
thirty years since, it was quite gone out of fashion, but on 
the revival of japanning furniture it began to be brought 
gradually into use, so that at present it is introduced into 
several pieces of furniture which it was not a few years 

Two chairs from a set of Sheraton satin-wood furniture 
consisting of six chairs and a settee, with four-chair back 
supported on right legs (Plate XLII.) show the begin- 
ning of the " Fancy Chair." The backs have a rectangular 
panel of open trellis and rosettes at each intersection. The 
top rail is painted. The side supports and rail of the cane 
seats painted with arabesque foliage in grisaille. The 
front legs are turned balusters; the back, continuations of 
the side supports. 

Sheraton's stuffed sofas resembled the sofas in use in 
France, and matched the chairs. Two sofas accompanied 
the drawing-room set of seats, and the seat of his sofa was 
stuffed up in front about three inches high above the rail. 
" Our sofas," he says, " are never covered with a carpet, 
but with various pattern cottons and silks." 

He also gave designs for Grecian squabs or couches, the 
frames turned up at one end and made of white and gold 
or mahogany ; the chaise longue with " a stuffed back and 
arm at each side with a bolster," their use being " to rest 
or loll upon after dinner " ; and the Turkey sofa, a novelty 
recently introduced into the most fashionable homes. 
" They are," Sheraton remarks, " an imitation of the 
Turkish mode of sitting and are made very low, scarcely 
exceeding a foot to the upper side of the cushion." 


» . » ' » 

Plate XCIX 
Heppelwhite Shield-back Chairs 


During the Directoire, the open-backed chair increased in 
popularity, and remained a favorite in the days of the 
Empire. The lion's head reigned for a time as a decoration 
for the arm or elbow, but was soon superseded by the sphinx 
and the swan's head, — two very characteristic motives of 
this period. Gondola-shaped chairs, bar-backed chairs and 
heavy scrolled arm-chairs, as well as the 
double arm-chair that followed the style 
of the sofa, reigned during this period. 

A set of drawing-room furniture con- 
sisted of two sofas, always placed on 
either side of the chimney-piece, six arm- 
chairs, six chairs, two bergeres and two 

The draped sofa disappeared, and the 

^ ^^ ' DIRECTOIRE, 1 796 

most popular was the canape pommier, the 
back of which was low and square and extended round the 
sides to take the place of anns. The back of the sofa was 
stufifed but not the sides or wings. A feather pillow, cov- 
ered with the same material as the sofa, was placed at each 
end. Figured damask, satin, tapestry, or printed cloth, put 
on with braid, was used for upholstering these sofas. The 
meridienne was a variation of the canape pommier, intro- 
duced during the Directoire period. 

The banquette and chaise tongue and the bergere en 
gondole with a low and rounded back were very popular. 
The divan came in during the last days of the Empire 
period. It came from the East. 

The framework for chairs was mahogany or painted and 
bronzed, and frequently, in very rich houses, of gilded 
wood. Gondola-shaped chairs and heavy scrolled arm- 
chairs were the favorites for drawing-rooms. The square 
form was the most popular, and the arm-chair and double 
arm-chair were rarely supplied with extra cushions. Back 



and seats were stuffed and then covered with silks or 
satin of a solid color, with a design painted upon it. 
Braids were employed to hide the nails. Worsted damasks 
and printed cottons were used for less expensive seats. 
Leather was often chosen for the library and dining-room 

The bar-back, or open back, chair was very popular, and 
legs were often X-shaped. Sometimes the front leg was cut 
in the form of a sabre. The shield shape, too, was popular 
for the back, ornamented with military trophies, or laurel 
leaves. Desk chairs were of the round or gondola form, 
and the feet generally in the console shape, or carved like 
chimaerae, or lions, whose heads came up to the level of the 

The following extracts from sales at Christie's auction 
rooms, 1 797-1800, will give an idea of fashionable seats at 
the close of the century : 

" 4 chair seats, flowers on yellow velveteen. 

8 landscapes for chair backs, greys on blue satin. 

6 chair seats and 6 chair backs, arabesque in greys on 
blue satin. 

6 chair seats and 6 chair backs, arabesque in greys on 
yellow satin. 

12 ornaments, antique reliefs, purple on white satin 
for chair backs. 

12 tablets for chair backs, antique brown on white satin. 

12 tablets for chair backs, antique blue on white satin. 

6 chair backs, greys on green dimity. 

I chair and seat, greys on poppy-colored satin. 

6 chair backs or fire screens, colors on white satin. 

6 mahogany vase-back chairs and i elbow chair, with 
horsehair seats, brass-nailed. 

6 mahogany square-back chairs with horsehair seats, 








S o 







12 mahogany back-stool chairs covered with crimson 
damask, brass-nailed. 

lo green and gold japanned elbow chairs, green mixed 
damask seats. 

I mahogany cabriole chair covered with crimson velvet. 

8 mahogany wheel-back elbow-chairs, fluted legs on 

4 japanned bamboo elbow-chairs and cushions. 

A drawing-room suite in green and gold consisting of a 
sofa and two bolsters, 6 plain cabriole 
chairs and 12 elbow chairs, covered with 
white figured satin and cotton cases." 

The Fancy Chair (see page 85) was 
popular in New York. In 1797, ''Wil- 
liam Challen, Fancy Chair-maker from 
London, makes all sorts of dyed, jap- 
anned, wangee and bamboo chairs, set- 

j . • 1 • . 1 T- EASY CHAm WITH AD- 

tees, etc., and every article m the rancy justable back, by 

Chair line, executed in the neatest man- ^*"™ 

ner and after the newest and most approved London 


From this date onward we have many advertisements in 
the New York papers of men who make Fancy and Wind- 
sor chairs, and undertake to regild and paint old chairs in 
the newest fashion. In 1802, we read : 

" Fancy Chairs and cornices — William Palmer, No. 2 
Nassau Street, near the Federal Hall, has for sale a large 
assortment of elegant well-made and highly finished, black 
and gold, etc., Fancy Chairs with cane and rush bottoms. 
He has also some of the newest pattern cornices and a 
variety of other articles in the Japan line. Old chairs re- 
paired, regilt, etc., at the lowest price and agreeably to any 
pattern. Ornamental painting and gilding neatly executed." 

In 1 810, " Paterson & Dennis, No. 54 John Street, inform 



their friends and the public that they have now on hand a 
large and very elegant assortment of Fancy chairs of the 
newest patterns and finished in a superior style. Elegant 
white, coquelico, green, etc., and gilt drawing-room chairs, 
with cane and rush seats, together with a handsome assort- 
ment of dining and bedroom chairs, etc." 

Two years later, " Asa Holden, 32 Broad Street, has a 
superb assortment of highly finished Fancy Chairs, such as 
double and single cross, fret, chain, gold, ball and spindle 
back, with cane and rush seats, etc., of the latest and most 
fashionable patterns. The cane seats are warranted to be 
American made, which are well known to be much superior 
to any imported from India." (181 2.) 

In 181 7, " Wheaton and Davies, Fancy Chair manufac- 
turers, have removed from No. 15 Bowery to 153 Fulton 
Street, opposite St. Paul's Church, where they offer for 
sale an elegant assortment of curled maple, painted, orna- 
mented, landscape, sewing and rocking-chairs, lounges, 
settees, sofas, music-stools, etc. Old chairs repaired, 
painted and ornamented." 

A favorite chair of the period was the " Trafalgar," 
which received its name from Nelson's great victory. This 
chair was generally of mahogany, and was in vogue as 
late as 1830. 

From 1800 to 1825, we read of " Fancy and 
Windsor chairs; chairs with rattan bottoms; 
rosewood and Fancy painted chairs; chairs 
with cane and rush seats; bamboo; Grecian 
back; elesrant mahosrany chairs, eaele pat- 


RESTORATION tcm ; I rafalgar with landscapes; I^ancy 

PERIOD Chairs, richly gilt, with real gold and bronze : 

rosewood covered with yellow plush ; mahogany with plain 

and figured hair seating; Grecian sofas with scroll ends; 

imitation rosewood chairs, cane seats; square and round 



2- S 






front Fancy gilt chairs ; Grecian sofas, inlaid with rose and 
satin-wood; three banded back and scroll-end sofas; two 
superb settees with elegant damask cushions, pillows, etc., 
and twelve cane seat, white and gold chairs to match ; rose- 
wood sofa covered with yellow plush and twelve chairs to 
match; and six scroll-end sofas covered with red damask, 
inlaid with rosewood, gilt and bronzed feet." 

Black haircloth seating is especially advertised in 1824, 
but haircloth for seats had been in use since the middle of 
the Eighteenth Century. 

During the Restoration, which lasted from 181 5 to 
1830, the chairs followed the general character of the 
Empire. The square backs, however, be- 
came slightly more curved, and the rounded 
arms were terminated by a dolphin's head, 
a volute or scroll, or the neck or head of a 
swan. The feet were either straight and 
grooved, or were in the form of a scroll, ""Jo' sErBv' l^aSonLe" 
and very little carving was used. 

Some models were imported from England and Ger- 
many, such as the gondola; but these were more suitable 
for the boudoir and sitting-room than the stately drawing- 

The chief woods were mahogany and palissandre. The 
latter was often enriched with threads of copper. Maple 
was also used, inlaid with amaranth and elm-root. 

The chairs and sofas were upholstered like those of the 
Empire and covered with similar materials, but the 
damask was frequently decorated with motives of yellow 
or white or silver. Damask and silk from Lyons and 
Tours was in great demand, and " English " and " Per- 
sian." Braid and borders were used to hide the nails, as 
in the days of the Empire. 

Under the Directoire and the Empire every drawing- 




room had a sofa on either side of the chimney. One of 
the favorite forms was the meridienne, which was not 
abandoned until about 1830. (See page 89.) At that date 
the causeuse and the tete-a-tete replaced the meridienne on 
either side of the hearth. The meridi- 
enne was never tufted and was usually 
covered with tapestry called " Henry," or 
worsted damask, also called " English 
damask." The covering was put on plain 
with an ornamental braid for a border. 

The form of the chaise longue of the 
period varied according to the style of 
the faiiteuils that accompanied it, and also according to the 
fancy of the maker. It was often of the rounded or gon- 
dola form, the back elevated on one side and ending on the 
other, with an elbow that extended the whole length of the 
chair. On the other side the back terminated in a long rail 
(rampe) or cushion that stopped as it turned on the side 
opposite the back. These chaises tongues were made left 
and right. 

During the early days of the Restoration bergeres were 
used; but they soon gave place to the faiiteuils gondoles. 
Deep arm-chairs appeared and then the popular fauteuil, 
called Voltaire, which seems to 
have been taken from England 
or Germany. How it got its 
name is a mystery, for Vol- 
taire is never represented in 
one; and, indeed, it does not 
seem to have appeared until causeuse 

1825. The Voltaire was an easy-chair, deep and low with an 
inclined back that could be adjusted at the pleasure of the 
lounger. It was generally supplied with extra cushions. 
About 1838 the chaises confortahles appeared. Havard 


» - » ». ». 

» » » J » 

Plate CII 
Nineteenth Century Chairs, by George Smith (1804-1810) 



says that much as seats had been padded and covered in 
former days it was Dervilliers who, in 1838, originated 
furniture that was completely upholstered and perfected 
later by Jeanselme and Sellier. " A throng of pieces sprung 
from this innovation: all the crapauds, 
poufs, Seymours, and hehes date from this 
epoch, if not in name, at least in form as 
* confortable.' " 

Ihe chaises confortaoles appeared m all ble, "span- 
forms — gondola, square, oval, Voltaire, ische^"' ^835 
anglaise, and the peculiar " Spanischer/' which was prob- 
ably German. The feet were grooved or in the sabre form. 
The sofas were of peculiar shapes and names. The 
canape Marcus enjoyed a certain vogue, receiving its name 
from a popular maker of the Restoration period. The 
seat was much lower and deeper than that of the ordinary 
sofa, and the back and cheeks were curved, and sides and 
elbows were very high. The framework was visible and 
carved or plain. The canape Marcus was a sort of divan- 

Then there was the Borne, a round or oval canape or 
sofa that came into fashion after the Em- 
pire. It was like a row of chairs placed 
back to back in a circle, with a column 
or pedestal in the centre for a vase of 
. flowers or a statue. It was much used 

CONFroANT A TROIS ... t n ' 

PLACES, OR siA- m drawmg-rooms and galleries, and was 
made square, octagon, pentagon, round or 
oval, and in all sizes. 

The S or Siamoise was long popular. It was also an 
upholstered sofa with two or three seats joined together 
like the Siamese twins. It stood in the centre or corners 
of the drawing-room. From the fact that people sit in it 
and talk cosily, it received the name tete-a-tete. 



The most peculiar seat of all was perhaps the Pouf, or 
Puji, a sort of cushion without arms or back. It was 
generally round, but occasionally it was oval or even square. 
It stood as high as the seat of a chair and 
was decorated with fringe. The first 
Poufs were made about 1845 ^^^ were 
very expensive. They were covered with 
rich material — damask, tapestry, bro- 
cade, or fine needlework. The Pouf was 
placed in the centre of a circle of chairs around the hearth; 
but it was a very uncomfortable seat. 

Seats grew^ lower and lower during the Second Empire 
until some critics thought it would be more comfortable to 
go a little further and have cushions on the 
floor. Deville was quite horrified at the 
lounging attitudes of the ladies and gentle- 
men on these sofas and low easy-chairs, and 
asked if they were really the descendants of ^^^^^^^ig 0°^^ 
the old French society that formerly shone 
so brilliantly with its belle tenue and savoir vivre ; and took 
refuge in the happy thought that those fauteuils would 
soon be but a memory of the Second Empire. 

In 181 7, Christian, cabinet-maker, 35 
Wall Street, has Grecian sofas for sale; at 
the Fancy Mahogany Chair and Sofa Manu- 
factory, 1 53 Fulton Street, Wheaton & Davis 
have rosewood and Fancy painted chairs and 
sofas richly ornamented in gold and bronze, 

FRENCH i8so ^^^^ ^^^'^' ^^"^ ^"^ ^^^^ seats (1819) ; and 
in 1823 sofas with plain and round tops and 
scroll ends, and rosewood sofas, with rich damask satin 
covering, come to auction. The Grecian sofa is very fash- 
ionable for many years. 

In 181 7 an Ottoman for a gallery is recommended. 






" The framework is composed of the valuable woods en- 
riched with carved work finished in burnished gold. The 
draperies are buff-colored velvet, the pattern being em- 
broidered on its surface and bounded by ^^_-^ 
bullion lace." [wC4 

A sofa designed by J. Taylor in 1821 is .r-^r-^4 KKk^ J 
described as follows : 

" For decorations of the highest class 
the framework would be entirely gilt in 
burnished and matt gold, the pillows and chaise cootortable, 

. , ** ' , *^ , . ^ BY DERVILLIERS, 1838 

covermg of satm damask or velvet, relieved 
by wove gold lace and tassels. For furniture of less 
Splendor the frame would be of rosewood, with the carved 
work partly gilt and the covering of more simple materials." 
Chairs made in New York in the first quarter of the 
Nineteenth Century, by Duncan Phyffe, appear on Plates 
XLIV. and CIII. 




EGYPTIAN tables were quite simple in form and their 
ornamentation consisted of painting and inlay. In 
the ordinary home they were scarce, because people 
who use the floor for a seat have little use for tables. 

*' The old Greeks and Romans did not sit at table as we 
moderns do, but like the eastern races of to-day, reclined 
on couches each long enough for three guests, for there 
were always three or nine at table, the number 
of the Graces or Muses. Their tables were 
much lower than those of the following ages, 
for there was no necessity to provide space 
for the accommodation of man's extremities, 
neither did the tops of the table project as do those of 
later times. The couches occupied three sides of the table, 
the fourth was left free for the convenience of serving. 
The tables themselves were sometimes quite simple; but 
costly materials were often used for those 
belonging to the rich Romans, whose love 
of luxury and magnificence extended not 
only to the table ornaments and utensils 
but also to the tables themselves, the sup- 
ports of which were sometimes of precious metals, the top 
being formed of a marble slab. Nor was this extravagance 
confined to the Romans, for we read that the Emperor 
Lothar (A. D. 842) had one of his magnificent tables, which 
was made of gold, cut up into pieces and divided among his 





> > -> »1 

>>. 1 1 » \ 

Plate CIV 

Sixteenth Century Flemish Table (Sambin School) 
Table a Veveniail 


followers. Mosaics of tortoise-shell and ivory were also 
used for the adornment of the tables of the ancients ; indeed, 
here, as in all things, thought and artistic skill were brought 
into juxtaposition to produce noble work. Costly woods 
were brought from afar for their use, the glorious Thuja 
arbor vitcB from the forests of the Atlas Mountains was used 
for the profile, which was formed from a single piece cut as 
near as possible to the root of the tree where the markings 
were most beautiful, resembling the eyes of the peacock's 
feather or the richness of lines and coloring of the skin of 
a tiger. In this as also in the following ages metal was used 
for tables, which were round or oblong in form, the former 
being used as now when the number of diners was limited. 
But more often they were of oak, pine, chestnut, pitch- 
pine, or other scented woods ; while the trestles were made 
of simple wooden laths, in contradistinction to those of the 
Romans, whose trestles were elaborate monuments of art." ^ 

The Byzantine tables had columnar legs and sometimes 
lions' feet. Some also were small and round 
and stood on one support ending in three 
feet. The tables for meals were very low. 

The tables at which the Germans and 
Scandinavians feasted were very massive '^^xable'^^ 
and had four strong legs. There were 
also sideboards supported by saw-bucks. The Franks 
also had big, heavy rectangular tables, and small, light 
round ones. Charlemagne had three silver tables and one 
of gold. These were engraved with a map of the heavens, 
and with plans of Rome and Constantinople. In the 
Tenth Century, the dining-tables were sometimes rectangular 
and sometimes semi-circular, and rested on upright legs 
or on X-shaped supports that could be folded up. Round 
and oval tables came into fashion about 1150; but the 
* A. S. Levetus. 



rectangular shape returned to favor in the Thirteenth 

Until the Sixteenth Century the word " table " was not 
used in its present sense. Board was the word in use ; and it 
was perfectly descriptive, for the dining-table consisted of a 
simple board supported on trestles. In the great hall, the 
board was large, consisting of a great oaken plank, or planks. 
Sometimes this board was hinged and could be turned 
against the wallT II' was always supported by trestles. 

Besides wooden tables there were 
great banqueting-tables of stone in 
the halls of princes and kings. 
Froissart mentions one in describing 
the festivities on the entry of Queen 
Isabella into Paris in 1389. *' You 
must know that the great table of 
marble, which is in the hall and is 
never removed, was covered with an oaken plank, four 
inches thick, and the royal dishes placed thereon. Near 
the table, and against one of the pillars, was the king's 
buffet, magnificently decked out with gold and silver plate, 
and much envied by many who saw it. Before the king's 
table, and at the same distance, were wooden bars with 
three entrances, at which were sergeants-at-arms, ushers 
and archers, to prevent any from passing them but those 
who served the table; for in truth the crowd was so very 
great that there was no moving but with much difficulty. 
There were plenty of minstrels, who played away to the 
best of their abilities." 

The table at which the king was sitting was a very 

famous one. In Sauval's Antiquites de Paris, we read: 

" At one end of the hall of the Palace was placed a 

marble table that filled up almost the whole breadth of it, 

and was of such a size for length, breadth and thickness, 


''','• ' 

' 9 'l J > 





























that it was supposed to be the greatest slab of marble 

It served, for two or three hundred years, very different 
purposes : " at one time for a theatre, on which the attorneys' 
clerks acted their mummeries, and at another for the royal 
feasts, where only emperors, kings, and princes of the 
blood were admitted, with their ladies : the other great lords 
dined at separate tables. It was consumed by fire in 1618." 

The other tables were evidently the usual board and 
trestles; if they had been of heavy, solid oak, they would 
have been pushed aside by pressure instead of being upset. 
Froissart, who was present at the above-mentioned feast, 
tells us : " There were two other tables in the hall, at which 
were seated upward of five hundred ladies and damsels ; but 
the crowd was so very great, it was with difficulty they could 
be served with their dinner which was plentiful and sump- 
tuous. There were so many people on all sides, several 
were stifled by the heat; and one table near the door of 
the chamber of parliament, at which a numerous company 
of ladies and damsels was seated, was thrown down, and 
the company forced to make off as well as they could." 

In the Fourteenth Century Jean of Burgundy had " two 
dining-tables," one with folding leaves, and both with feet 
of ebony and ivory. 

The Renaissance tables are only rich elaborations of the 
board and trestles. The workmen had only to connect the 
struts of the trestles in the centre of the table in order to 
produce a rough model of the richly-carved tables in vogue 
from the days of Henri 11. to Louis XIV. 

The usual model was a table standing on four feet joined 
by stretchers, or standing on two rails, also united by a 
cross-piece. In very ornate tables, however, the end sup- 
ports, which spread out in the shape of a fan, were carved 
in a very complicated style. From the stretcher, or cross- 



piece, slender columns or pillars rise to support the centre 
of the slab, while the ends are supported by the elaborately- 
carved scrolls or fan, on which appear masques, satyrs, 
mermaids, dragons, or rams' heads garlanded. Each of 
these ends in turn stands on a foot, terminating in a horse's 
head, lion's foot, or a scroll. The slab of the table is 
ornamented with a decorative edge of gadroons or scrolls, 
or marquetry, and the corners are decorated with mascarons 
or the muzzles of lions, and, perhaps, a drop ornament. 
These tables could be lengthened by means of a sort of 
sliding shelf that was concealed at each end. Thus the 
surface of the table could be doubled. All these tables 
stood much higher than the modern tables, just as the 
chairs of the same period did. Several beautiful examples 
by Hugues Sambin and his school are still in existence in 
museums and private collections. One by Sambin, in the 
Museum of Besangon, is always held up as a model of his 
work. It is decorated with foliage and carved ornaments, 
and upheld by two fan-shaped supports consisting of great 
scrolls ending in lions' claws at the base and rams' heads 
at the top, and framing the head of a grinning satyr. From 
this head hangs a swag of flowers. 

A table belonging to the Sambin School appears on 
Plate CIV. It has a long stretcher on which the support- 
ing columns rest, and these columns are further connected 
with arches at the top. The side supports are very massive, 
and are heavily carved with Renaissance figures and 

On the same Plate is shown a beautiful table of the 
Sixteenth Century resting on six legs, joined by one long 
stretcher and two cross-pieces, and decorated at the four 
corners with four large acorn-shaped drop ornaments that 
add a graceful touch to the severity of the design. This is 
a typical and beautiful specimen of Louis XIII. furniture. 



I ^ 

? ^ 

3 <! 





When the Florentine mosaic work, composed of precious 
stones, semi-precious stones, or pebbles from the bed of 
the Arno, and mosaics of wood of different colors became 
the rage, succeeding the ^ar^ta- work of the Fifteenth and 
Sixteenth Centuries, tables were considered especially ap- 
propriate for this kind of decoration. On a big figure, or 
slab, of marble or slate — usually dark in tint, though 
sometimes of pure white — the small pieces were arranged 
according to a pattern or picture, and then the whole was 
polished. The famous table of the chateau de Richelieu 
(6 feet by 4 feet), valued at 900,000 francs, now in the 
Louvre, was made in Florence when this kind of work was 
most fashionable. 

Francesco de' Medici ordered a splendid library table 
from Bernardo Buontolenti, which is described by Vasari 
as made of " ebony, veneered with ebony, divided into 
compartments by columns of heliotrope, oriental jasper and 
lapis-lazuli, which have the vases and capitals of chased 
silver. The work is, furthermore, enriched with jewels, 
beautiful ornaments of silver, and exquisite little figures 
interspersed with miniatures and terminal figures of silver 
and gold, in full relief, united in pairs. There are, besides, 
other compartments formed of jasper, agates, heliotropes, 
sardonyxes, cornelians, and other precious stones." 

When the new styles of the Seventeenth Century sup- 
planted the sumptuously carved furniture of the Valois 
period, the table disappeared beneath its cover, which, gar- 
nished with fringe, touched the floor. The tables of this 
period stood on spiral legs connected by a spirally turned 
cross-bar, or stretcher, that ran directly through the centre, 
or that connected all four legs. If the stretcher was not 
spirally turned, it consisted of a flat bar that lay very close 
to the floor, joining the four legs, each of which terminated 
in a small flattened ball- foot. The table cloth fitted tightly 



over the slab and touched or swept the floor. The cloth 
was, in fact, a kind of case. This table was sometimes 
furnished with drawers and often decorated with inlay. 
The top slab could be lengthened at will. 

A white cloth spread over the heavy cloth or rug that 
covered the slab, and a mirror hung on the wall above, 
appear in the pictures and prints of the period, show that 
the ordinary table served for the toilet. About 1640, 
the " drop leaf," or " hang ear " tables came into vogue. 
Many of these were made of solid walnut, or sacredaan 

In the Seventeenth Century, lightness was carried far- 
ther, and the table was simply supported by four turned 
legs with heavy bulb feet, connected with straining-rails 
close to the floor. These legs swelled out into the form of 
acorns (often curved) or globes, sometimes stained black, 
or picked out with black threads. 

The peculiarity of the slab gave this special kind of table 
the descriptive name of " drawing-table." The drawing-table 
was, therefore, composed of extra leaves superimposed on 
lower ones that could be drawn forward so that the top 
leaves could fall into the space the lower ones made, and 
form with the leaves, thus lengthened, one continuous sur- 
face. The mechanism by which these leaves were length- 
ened and dropped was both intricate and ingenious. 

Greater lightness being required, the legs were soon 
turned in plain spirals or with beading. A typical form 
now appears, which was either round or oval, and consisted 
of a frame with spirally turned legs and flaps, or falling 
leaves, that were supported by legs. These legs could be 
pulled forward when required; and, when not in use, 
folded back into the frame. These are called " gate-leg- 
ged," or " thousand-legged tables," for they had six, eight, 
twelve, sixteen, or even twenty legs. The table could be 


> 5, 1 » ' ' J 1 

', ' %' ' ' l' 

, 1 J > 

^ ft) HH 


shut up into about one-third of its extended length. (See 
Plates CV. and CVI.) 

This spiral kind of table was made in all sizes and of all 
kinds of wood. It even lasted until mahogany came into 
general use among the wealthy, for a fine example, owned 
by Sir William Johnson, is preserved in the Albany In- 
stitute and Historical and Art Society. It is of rich red 
mahogany, 29 ^^ inches high, 6 feet, 6 inches long and 5 
feet, II inches across the shortest diameter. The leaves 
drop or are supported by legs that fold into the frame. 
This table was confiscated in 1776. 

The Flemings of the Seventeenth Century were par- 
ticularly skilful in the production of tables and chairs. 
They made tables of all forms: dining-tables, writing- 
tables, card-tables, chair-tables, bureau-tables, round, square 
and oval tables, tables that stand on one foot, tables that 
stand on three feet, folding-tables and tables a banc (or 
bench tables). They were made of oak, maple, walnut, 
cedar, cypress, marble and sometimes of silver, of mosaic 
and of marquetry; and they were beautifully carved and 
embellished with gold. 

In the time of Louis XIV. tables were ornate and hand- 
some. The finest were of carved and gilded wood with 
term-shaped legs connected by straining-rails. Some had 
the hind's foot {pied de hiche). Tables were also made 
of violet-wood, walnut, pine, cherry, or other woods with 
simple turned feet; and these were covered with a cloth 
that matched the hangings of the room. Marquetry was 
also a favorite ornamentation for tables at this period. 

The gueridon, or small tripod table, consisting of a 
column ending in three feet and supporting a small, round 
top, seems to have made its advent at this time. It was 
much used for cards. Other card-tables were three- 
cornered, or cut into five faces. 



Console-tables often stood with their backs against a 
pier-glass. Their slabs were of handsome marble, or 
mosaic, and their frames very elaborate and heavy. 

Boulle's tables are superb. 

A handsome table from the Wallace Gallery appears on 
Plate CVII. This shows how the Boulles kept up with the 
fashion. Here we have a graceful sweeping line for the legs, 
and the two smaller drawers are separated from the larger 
one in the centre by a graceful sweeping crescent in gilt 
bronze. The mascarons at the corners and that decorate 
the handles of the drawers are or moulu as are also the leaf- 
shoes of the feet. 

Moliere, who died in 1673, had among his effects "two 
small carved loo tables of gilded wood with three eaglet's 
claws for feet, painted bronze color, top hexagonal (80 
livres) ; a little table with pillars of turned wood; a wooden 
table with parquet top representing flowers (30 livres), 
and two small tables of similar wood (18 livres) "; also 
a "Turkish table cover," valued at 15 livres. 

Marot's tables differ a little from those in use in France. 
Of course, they have the characteristic Marot ornamenta- 
tion. As the Eighteenth Century progresses, marquetry is 
more and more used as a decoration for table tops and even 
the legs are inlaid with floral ornaments. The legs grow 
slimmer and the term-shaped leg with flat ball feet, con- 
nected by stretchers, gives place to the cabriole that first 
ends in the simple hoof and later in the ball-and-claw foot. 

The console-table, with gilded frame and marble slab, is 
greatly used in the Louis XV. period. In fact, it occurs in 
almost every room. In the bedroom, it stands between 
the two principal windows, opposite the bed. There are 
usually two consoles in the salon. (See Plate CIX.) 

The frames are ornate and exhibit a bewildering com- 
bination of scrolls, flowers, leaves, twisting dragons and 


••• • • • . • ••• • •• • ••• 

Plate CVIII 

Sideboard -Table, William and Mary Period; Oak Dining-Table; 
Seventeenth Century English Dressing-Tables 


shells. In the days of the Regency the favorite monkey is 
sometimes climbing and peering through the foliage. 

The taste of Louis XV. for small rooms, and, more 
particularly, for little suppers, banished rigid etiquette and 
ceremony. Ingenious mechanics now invented tables and 
buffets for informal service, — pieces in which shelves 
could be made to rise and fall, and which contained 
various contrivances to raise dumb-waiters. The cabinet- 
makers, too, were skilful,, and, therefore, the tables of Choisy, 
Versailles and Trianon are classed among the most sumptu- 
ous and ingenious works of the day. Many persons were en- 
gaged upon the famous " moving table "of Choisy. Sulpice, 
the cabinet-maker, designed it ; Guerin made the mechanism 
for the model; the table itself was made by Lechaude; 
Loret, the goldsmith, furnished the copper and silver 
mounts ; and Loriau supplied the cables. A movable buffet 
was made for similar apartments in Versailles. 

In the middle of the Eighteenth Century, tables were 
made with movable tops; tops that could be raised or 
lowered; writing tables, at which one stood up to write; 
and tables ^^ en croissant." In 1754 Madame de Pom- 
padour had a writing-table in the form of a crescent, with 
a desk. It was inlaid with rosewood and satin-wood and 
feet and mounts of or moulu. A table in the Louvre, sup- 
posed to have belonged to the daughters of Louis XV., is of 
rosewood and satin-wood, beautifully ornamented with or 
moulu, the top covered with blue velvet, — the favorite 
material for covering the tops and lining the drawers of a 
lady's desk at this period. 

Ladies' desks were charming: one called the bonheur 
du jour is very delicate in form and is made of ornamental 

The long bureau table, with a tier of shelves supplied 
with pigeon-holes, called serre-papiers, was a favorite writ- 



ing-table until the cylinder bureau, with the roll top, said 
to have been invented by Prince Kaunitz, drove it from 
the field. 

On Plate CX. a charming table of this period is shown. 
It is of waved lines, made of veneered wood, the frieze 
ornamented with three panels of lattice- work of mother-of- 
pearl and red horn on a ground of horn, colored green, 
sprinkled with flowerets and framed in gilt-bronze scrolls. 
The ornaments on the spring of the leg and the leaf -shoes 
of the feet are gilded bronze. The slab, of wood and 
gilded bronze, is movable, and beneath it are two small 
drawers and one large drawer. 

Until the Eighteenth Century the special dressing-table 
seems to have been unknown. Pictures of the period show 
ladies seated before a low table covered with a cloth, or in 
front of a commode, or table with drawers, or low case of 
drawers, resembling the one on Plate LII. 

The bureau de commode often contained a drawer fitted 
up as a desk. It was probably because of this fact that the 
word bureau has been so frequently misused for the dress- 

When the straight line again dominated furniture in the 
Louis XVI. period, the table naturally yielded to the 
fashion. Tables were delicate and charming, and include 
writing-tables with ingenious appliances to lift the desks 
up and down to any height desired, pretty work-tables, 
that are also writing-desks, supplied with a tambour-shut- 
ter to conceal the shelves, dainty tea-tables and round, fold- 
ing and square card-tables are numerous and varied. These 
are greatly prized by collectors, particularly if they are 
adorned with Sevres plaques. 

The table servant e, a kind of dumb-waiter with drawers 
and shelves arranged in tiers, and standing on four grooved 
feet on casters, also became popular. This contained many 


Plate CIX 

Regency Console-Table 
Metropolitan Museum 
Louis XV. Console-Table 


little drawers for various articles of table service. It fre- 
quently appears in the caricatures of Grand ville, Charlet 
and H. Monnier. 

More notable, however, was the advent of the extension 
dining-table standing on four, six, or eight feet, and open- 
ing in the middle. This appeared in France earlier than 
in England, where it is not found until about 1800. 

Another popular table was the flower-table, or jardiniere. 
It made its first appearance in the form of a square pier 
table, and was arranged for growing-plants, lined with lead, 
and frequently decorated with porcelain plaques. Some- 
times it had an additional shelf for a globe of gold fish. 
The table a Heurs was placed in the drawing-room and 
boudoir. A description of one occurs in an advertisement 
in one of the Parisian newspapers in 1777: 

" For sale a beautiful table a HeurSy now being made, of 
satin-wood, lined with lead, the four feet a roulettes, orna- 
mented with gilded shoes, the rings forming the handles 
also or moulu, a drawer lined with lead to catch the water. 
Address, Thomas, rue de Menars." 

The console-table was composed of straight, grooved legs, 
or legs grooved and tapering. The ornaments were very 
slight, such as, for example, a little gilded metal rail around 
the top and base, a rosette, a trophy, or some other orna- 
ment under the slab in the centre, and, perhaps, a little 
gold decoration on the legs. Sometimes the legs were joined 
by a straining-rail which had an ornament in the centre, 
or a little stand on which was placed a basket of flowers or 
a Sevres vase. Sometimes the legs were formed of a 
classic head and bust ending in a term. Console-tables were 
made of mahogany, with brass trimmings; and they were 
also made of less expensive woods painted in bright hues. 
Gray was a favorite shade, particularly towards the close 
of the period. During the Reign of Terror " two consoles, 



painted in pearl-gray, elegantly ornamented with carving, 
and having very handsome slabs of Carara marble," are 
offered for sale. 

Tables of gilded wood for the drawing-room went out 
of fashion and their places were taken by solid or veneered 
tables of violet-wood, amaranth, rosewood, or mahogany, 
decorated with brass-work. It is noticeable that during 
the Empire period the table cloth is never used. If the 
top was not a marble slab, then it was covered with a square 
of cloth or velvet, framed in a border of wood with a nar- 
row metal moulding. 

Turning now to the English styles of the second half of 
the Eighteenth Century, the importance of the card-table 
and tea-table can hardly be over-estimated. In very wealthy 
houses these were inlaid with ivory or mother-of-pearl, but 
in the ordinary prosperous home they were of walnut or 
mahogany. The card-table, with its claw-and-ball feet, and 
its stands for the candles at each corner and wells for the 
little fish that were used as counters before the days of 
" chips," of Anglo-Dutch form, is a model that lasted until 
late in the century, and is still found in old houses and 
prized by collectors. At such a table ladies of fashion ir) 
wide-spreading hoops of brocade and with enormous head- 
dresses, sat to settle the odd trick, the flames of the candles 
illuminating their rouged faces and causing their jewels to 
sparkle. At such a table Belinda probably played her 
famous game of ombre when she led to war her sable 
Matadores and 

" Spadillo first, unconquerable Lord 
Led off two captive Trumps and swept the Board," 

before she lost the graceful ringlet that formed the subject 
of The Rape of the Lock. 

The round tea-table, supported on a tripod stand, was 


Plate CX 

Louis XV. Lady's Tables, Marquetry of Colored Woods. 

Louis XV. Table with Panels of Lattice-work 

Louis XV. Writing-Table and Serre-Papiers 

Metropolitan Museum 


made of various sizes, from one that could support a tea- 
tray to one destined to hold merely the tea-kettle. In the 
latter case the stand had a little gallery, or high rail, above 
it. The top of the tea-table v^as made to revolve and to 
turn downwards when not in use. Hence it has received 
the popular name of " tip-and-turn." The edge was fre- 
quently bordered with a crinkled moulding, which to-day is 
often denominated " pie-crust." 

Chippendale was very adept in the making of tables. His 
book contains every kind of table. His plates show : china- 
tables, dressing-tables, bureau-dressing-tables and com- 
modes, writing-tables, library-tables, dressing and writing- 
tables, with bookcases, pier-glasses, and table frames, 
frames for marble slabs, sideboard-tables, bason stands, 
tea-kettle stands, candle stands, terms for busts, stands for 
china jars and pedestals, etc. 

Chippendale's console-tables were derived from the 
French styles of the day and elaborately carved in the 
same manner as his picture and mirror frames, with sub- 
jects from mythology, or ^sop's Fables, scrolls, leaves, 
spiky tufts of grass, icicles, birds and Chinese figures. The 
slab was of marble. 

His " buroe tables " are very simple, generally of two 
square tiers of drawers hollowed out in the centre and 
covered with a large slab. A little carving sometimes em- 
bellishes them. 

His writing and library tables are generally " Gothic " 
in style. One has a writing drawer which draws out at 
one end and has term feet to support it, and the top ^' rises 
with a double horse to stand to read or write upon." They 
are variously supplied with partitions for books, pigeon- 
holes, drawers, flaps, etc., etc. Recesses are also cut for the 
knees ; and are of a type long popular. 

The lady's dressing-table under Chippendale's treatment 



often is a kind of commode; and, as a rule, he makes it of 
rosewood and decorates it with drapery. His glasses are 
made to come forward on hinges. This one, described in 
his book, is characteristic. " The glass made to come for- 
ward with folding hinges, is in a carved frame, and stands in 
a compartment that rests upon a plinth, between which are 
small drawers. The drapery is supported by Cupids and 
the petticoat goes behind the feet of the table, which looks 
better. The ornamental parts may be gilt in burnished gold 
or japanned." 

Shaving-tables with folding tops and glasses that could 
be made " to rise out with a spring catch," were also 
made by Chippendale; and some of these had devices that 
could bring the glass forward when the gentleman was 

The dining-tables from the beginning of the Eighteenth 
Century and throughout the Chippendale period consisted 
of two centre-pieces with wide flaps on either side and two 
semi-circular end pieces, all four divisions being joined 
together or separated at will by means of small brass 
adjustments. Each of the two larger portions stood on 
four cabriole legs, and the semi-circular pieces on two legs 
only; the latter, when not in use, were pushed up against 
the wall and served as side-tables. 

These, however, are not to be confused with the side- 
board-table, which took the place of the sideboard in Chip- 
pendale's day. A typical example is given on Plate CXI. 
It measures 2 feet ^Yi inches high, 5 feet 10^ inches 
long, and i foot, 10^ inches deep, is of oblong form, the 
corners splayed and slightly shaped to the outline of the 
legs. The frieze is boldly carved in relief with a lattice 
and scroll foliage design. The centre ornamented with 
reversed C-scrolls. The plain mahogany top with moulded 
border, is supported on cluster column legs of quatrefoil 


Plate CXI 

Chippendale Sideboard-Table 
Chippendale Pier-Table 


section with moulded tie and plinths and carved acanthus 
foliage capitals. 

A pier-table of the Chippendale style appears on Plate 
CXI. It is of oblong form, standing on four beautifully 
modelled cabriole legs, ending in a fine ball-and-claw. The 
front is carved v^ith a pendant having a pierced shell in the 
centre. Arched scrolls and wave ornaments decorate the 
sides and ends, with corded string line, plain frieze and 
foliage border. The slab is black and white marble ; length 
three feet. 

Hepplewhite's book shows designs for library-tables, card- 
tables, pier-tables, Pembroke-tables, tambour- tables, dress- 
ing-tables and drawers, Rudd's tables, night-tables, candle- 
stands, terms for busts, and ornamental tops for pier-tables, 
Pembroke-tables, etc. 

" Tables, in general," we learn from this book, " are made 
of the best mahogany. Their size is various, but their height 
should not exceed 28 inches. 

" Card-tables may be either square, circular or oval : the 
inner part is lined with green cloth; the fronts may be en- 
riched with inlaid or painted ornaments; the tops also 
admit of great elegance." 

" Pembroke-tables are the most useful of this species of 
furniture; they may be of various shapes. The long, 
square and oval are the most fashionable." The tops are 
" inlaid, painted, or varnished." As a rule, there is a 
drawer below the top, the leaves or flaps of which fall on 
either side, as is shown in the example on Plate CXIV. 
from the Metropolitan Museum. 

Heppelwhite's dressing-tables were remarkable for their 
ingenious arrangements of compartments for pins, combs, 
essences, jewelry and other articles for beautifying the 
person. He also had ingenious arrangements for causing 
the looking-glasses to rise from the slabs and drawers and 



swing easily on hinges. His shaving-tables were also mar- 
vels of convenience. 

Heppelwhite described " Rudd's Dressing-table " as " the 
most complete dressing-table ever made, possessing every 
convenience which can be wanted. It derives its name from 
a once popular character from whom it was reported it was 
invented." In this piece of furniture the drawers could be 
made to swing about in any desired position, when the 
owner was dressing. 

Library-tables were from 3 to 4 feet long, of mahogany, 
and covered on top with leather or green cloth. Some have 
cupboards in front for books or papers. Then there was a 
tambour writing-table and bookcase which was supplied 
with three drawers and a cylinder tambour-shutter that 
rolled back, revealing pigeon-holes and a writing-desk and 
nests of drawers. The upper part was a bookcase or series 
of shelves enclosed by two doors. 

Pier-tables were " made to fit the pier and rise level with 
or above the dado of the room, nearly touching the orna- 
ments of the glass.'* Above the pier-table the mirror hung, 
" fixed very low," nearly reaching the slab of the pier-table. 

In the dining-room Heppelwhite called for " a set of 
dining-tables." This comprised a central, square table, and 
two semi-circular tables, which were used to extend the 
square table (one being placed at each end). When not 
\n use, they stood between the windows, like the pier-tables 
in the drawing-room. 

Sheraton also designed every variety of table, and among 
them novelties, for he kept up with and changed with the 
fashions of the time. Like Heppelwhite he considered pier- 
tables as indispensable to the furnishing of a fashionable 
drawing-room. He says : 

" The pier-tables have marble tops and gold frames, or 
white and gold. The glasses are often made to appear to 


Plate CXII 

Eighteenth Century Tables: Mahogany Tea-Table "Tip and 

Turn" with "Pie-crust" edge; Mahogany Drop-leaf Table; 

Chippendale Tea-Table with Pierced Gallery; Chippendale 

Tea-Table with Pierced Gallery 


come down to the stretcher of the table; that is, a piece of 
glass is fixed in behind the pier-table, separate from the 
upper glass, and by reflection makes the table appear double. 
The small piece of glass may be fixed either in the dado of 
the room, or on the frame of the table. As pier-tables are 
merely for ornament under a glass they are generally made 
very light, and the style of finishing them is rich and 
elegant. Sometimes the tops are solid marble, but most 
commonly veneered in rich satin or other valuable wood, 
with a cross-band on the outside, a border about two inches, 
richly japanned, and a narrow cross-band beyond it, to go 
all round. The frames are commonly gold, or white, or 
burnished gold. Stretching rails have of late been intro- 
duced to these tables, and it must be owned that it is with 
good effect, as they take off the long appearance of the legs 
and make the under part appear more finished ; beside, they 
afford an opportunity of fixing a vase or basket of flowers, 
which, with their reflection when there is a glass behind, pro- 
duce a brilliant appearance. Some, in place of a stretcher, 
have a thin marble shelf with a brass rim round it, supported , 
by a light frame ; in which case the top ought to be of marble 

The Pembroke-table is still in favor, and differs little 
from the Pembroke made by Heppelwhite. " It is used," 
says Sheraton, " for a gentleman or lady to breakfast on. 
The style of finishing these tables is very neat, sometimes 
bordering upon elegance, being at times made of satin-wood, 
and having richly japanned borders round their tops with 
ornamental drawer fronts." Another variety, called the 
Harlequin Pembroke-table, supplied with ingenious ma- 
chinery and containing a nest of drawers that could be 
raised any height, " serves," Sheraton informs us, " not 
only as a breakfast-table but also as a writing-table, very 
suitable for a lady." 



Sheraton was particularly happy in his designs for dainty 
furniture for ladies. The Ladies' Cabinet Dressing-Table, 
for instance, which appeared to be an ordinary commode, 
had on top a case or nest of drawers, innumerable little 
drawers fitted up with all the conveniences necessary for a 
lady's toilet, a cabinet in which she could keep her rings 
and other jewels, and glasses that folded in behind little 
doors in the most ingenious fashion. Under one of the 
drawers a slider was concealed, which could be drawn for- 
ward, when the fair owner wanted to write. A special 
drawer contained materials for writing. Work-tables also 
attracted his attention. Many of them were writing-desks 
as well, and contained an astonishing number of compart- 
ments arranged with great economy of space. His " French 
work-table " was generally made of satin-wood, with a 
brass moulding around the edge. In his " Pouch tables,'' 
made about 1803, a work-bag is attached to the frame 
which draws forward. " When required to be elegant," 
Sheraton remarks, " black rosewood is used ; otherwise 
they may be very neat of mahogany." In some of them the 
top is a chess-board. 

Shaving-stands and dressing-glasses for gentlemen were 
equally convenient and well planned. Like Heppelwhite, 
Sheraton makes great use of the tambour-shutter for his 
bason stands, night stands and dressing-tables. 

" Tambour tables," he explains, " among cabinet-makers, 
are of two sorts — one for a lady or gentleman to write at ; 
and another for the former to execute needlework by. The 
Writing Tambour Tables are almost out of use at present, 
being both insecure and liable to injury. They are called 
Tambour from the cylindrical forms of their tops, which 
are glued up in narrow strips of mahogany and laid upon 
canvas which binds them together, and suffers them, at the 
same time to yield to the motion their ends make in the 


*»*■.*•. **•• »« ' 

Plate CXIII 

Mahogany Card-Table; Mahogany Writing-Desk; Mahogany 
Dumb-Waiter; Mahogany Spoon-Case and Knife-Boxes 


curved groove in which they run, so that the top may- 
be brought round to the front, and pushed at pleasure to 
the back again when required to be open. Tambour tables 
are often introduced in small pieces of work when no great 
strength or security is required." 

Of the Kidney library table Sheraton says : " This piece 
is termed a kidney-table on account of its resemblance to 
that intestine part of animal so called. The drawers are 
strong and cross-banded with mahogany laid up and down. 
The pilasters are panelled, or cross-banded, and the feet 
are turned." In France this shape is called haricot. 

Sheraton gives a great many designs of tables that are 
appropriate for the breakfast-room and library. These 
include card-tables and what he calls the sofa-table. 

The dining-table of Sheraton's time was oblong, round, 
or oval, and usually supported on the pillar-and-claw. It 
was of mahogany and was accompanied by mahogany 
chairs covered with leather. 

The extension dining-table, with extra leaves, had not 
come into existence. 

In 1 797, among the furniture sold at Christie's, we note : 
" a large mahogany two-flap dining-table ; a two-flap 
spider-leg table; and a mahogany oval dining-table." 

In the middle of the Prince of Wales's dining-parlor 
in Carlton House stood a large range of dining-tables, 
standing on pillars with four claws each, which Shera- 
ton adds, " is now the fashionable way of making these 

" The common useful dining-tables," Sheraton says, 
" are upon pillars and claws, generally four claws to each 
pillar, with brass casters. A dining-table of this kind may 
be made to any size by having a sufficient quantity of pillar 
and claw parts, for between each of these there is a loose 
flap, fixed by means of iron straps and buttons, so that 



they are easily taken off and put aside; and the beds may 
be joined to each other with brass fork or strap fastenings. 
The sizes of dining-tables," he continues, ** for certain 
numbers may easily be calculated by allowing two feet to 
each person sitting at table; less than this cannot, with 
comfort, be dispensed with. A table, six feet by three, on 
a pillar and claws, will admit of eight persons, one only at 
each end, and three on each side." 

Sheraton also designed a number of dumb-waiters, sup- 
plied with shelves, drawers, trays, and holes for decanters, 
and also a supper tray called a " Canterbury " that was 
'* made to stand by a table at supper with a circular end 
and three partitions crosswise, to hold knives, forks and 
plates, at that end, which is made circular on purpose." 
This piece of furniture is said to have been invented by an 
Archbishop of Canterbury. 

Another convenient form of table that Sheraton notes in 
his books is the group of small tables with very light frames. 
When not in use, these stood one within the other. They 
were known as quartette or trio tables; and another name 
was rout-tables, for they were used, like the rout-chairs 
" at routs and other entertainments." 

It was not until the year 1800 that Richard Gillow of 
London invented and patented the telescope arrangement, 
which, with slight improvements, is still in use in the present 
day. Gillow's patent is described as " an improvement in 
the method of constructing dining and other tables cal- 
culated to reduce the number of legs, pillars and claws, 
and to facilitate and render easy, their enlargement and 

During the Empire tables were made in the French 
modes. The drawing-room table was either round or oval 
and stood on four feet, decorated with lions* heads, 
chimaerae, or sphinxes, or the pillar-and-claw. It was sup- 


• »- • ! ..• : •. 

.•,•••.:..: ; ••• ••.••• 

• ••• • •< 

Plate, CXI V 

Heppelwhite Pembroke Table and Empire Console-Table 

Metropolitan Museum 


plied with a marble top, and on this stood a lamp with a 
shade. A table cloth was frequently used in England. 

The console was a large square table much like that of 
the last days of Louis XVI. It was decorated more or less 
ornately with gilded bronze. Sometimes a mirror was 
placed at the back, which was framed by the legs; and 
sometimes the tops of the legs are carved into the form of 
sphinxes, or the heads of sphinxes, or other masks. (See 
Plate CXIV.) 

The tea-table was very ornate; and the jardiniere, or 
table a Heurs, was often vase-shaped and supported by 
sphinxes. It was by no means an exceptional adornment 
in a drawing-room or sitting-room. 

Mr. John Stafford, an eminent upholsterer of Bath, 
who designed and made so much fashionable furniture of 
his day, was responsible for a flower stand that was de- 
scribed in Ackermann's Repository in 1819 as follows: 

" The jardiniere forms a proper ornament for such a 
situation, and is rendered particularly interesting by a font 
of gold and silver fish, and by a small aviary for choice 
singing birds : the style is French and the article similar in 
design to those executed in Paris under the direction of 
Mons. Percier, the architect." 

In 1822, we read in the same publication accompanying 
a design : " The flower-stand forms an elegant piece of 
furniture in oak, with bronze ornaments, the top being 
calculated to receive large drooping plants and a lamp, or 
glass with gold fish; either way, as a whole, it is perfect 
in its form and will be found to add much to the beauty of 
a small entrance hall." 

Receptacles for displaying flowers in the chief apartments 
of well-furnished dwellings are always in request, and they 
admit an infinite variety of form and decoration from the 
simplest monopede to the most magnificent assemblage of 



stages. The present design is suited to a drawing-room or 
boudoir, being executed in choice woods and or moulu; in 
which case the reservoir should be hned with thin milled 
lead, to contain water, over which a silver network should 
be placed in a rounding form, to support the flowers and 
display them to advantage : from the reservoir a pipe should 
be affixed, so that it may be readily emptied, otherwise the 
stagnant water and vegetable matter speedily become 
offensive for want of change. 

" Flowers admirably harmonize with glass; and if in the 
present design all the receptacles were made in that material, 
beautifully cut in. the splendid fashion now in use, the 
design would be very ornamental, and one in each corner 
of the drawing-room might be well displayed, particularly 
if constructed as a tripod. Many such articles of furniture 
have been executed lately by the Blades of Ludgate Hill." 

In the inventories of prosperous and wealthy Americans 
and also in the advertisements of cabinet-makers and shop- 
keepers, we find innumerable notices of tables that show 
how closely fashions were followed on this side of the 
ocean with regard to this piece of furniture as well as 
every other form. For example, from the announcements 
of the years 1823-5, we gather the following: 

Claw table stands; pillar-and-claw-foot breakfast-tables; 
card-tables; card and pier and Pembroke-tables to match 
with marble slabs; a pair polished card-tables; six cases 
elegant tops of centre tables, with landscape views in Rome, 
etc., painted in a superior style and lately imported from 
Italy; elegant pier-tables with marble pillars; pillar-and- 
claw-foot tables; two superb pier-tables, imitation rose- 
wood, very handsomely gilded, one centre table with marble 
slab; pier-tables with marble slabs and columns and Pem- 



The Mirror 

UNTIL the Thirteenth Century, mirrors were made 
of burnished metal. The first looking-glasses with 
silvered backs were merely small mirrors destined 
to hang on a lady's chatelaine. In the Sixteenth Century, 
the art of silvering the back was brought to perfection in 
Murano; and not long after those celebrated glass-works 
were in operation, the French, Germans and English all 
stepped into the field, and began to make looking-glasses 
with more or less success. The French and English, how- 
ever, achieved the best results in imitating the Venetian 
work. About the Sixteenth Century, glasses with beveled 
sides (d biseau) were made in Venice and frames became 
of great importance. 

Sometimes they were very architectural and carved in 
the most ornate fashion. The handsome mirror on Plate 
CXV., from the Cluny Museum, is Italian work of the 
Sixteenth Century, and exhibits in its carving the fanciful 
ideas of the Renaissance. Here we have flowers, fruits, 
foliage and strange birds, as well as Cupids and other 
mythological figures. The two satyrs, one blowing a horn 
and the other a pipe, on the pediment, are finely sculptured. 
It is, however, all frame and very little mirror, as was the 
general treatment of the time. The whole frame is carved 
and gilt. 



A French authority tells us that " In Italy they were 
developed in redundant foliage, supporting figures of 
geniuses; or crowned with a pyramidal composition on 
which appeared the escutcheon of the owner; others were 
sculptured in hard wood, such as oak, the most perfect of 
these works being gilded on the bare wood with a species 
of bright gold called ducat gold; others were coated with 
that white paste which is still used and gilded on a light 
impression of vermilion. 

" A great change took place under Louis XIV ; Venice 
and its mirrors were left far behind; and after having 
vainly endeavored to bring over workmen from Murano 
to found a manufactory of glass in the faubourg St. 
Antoine, Colbert learned that one already existed in regular 
working order at Tourlaville near Cherbourg. The minister 
sent for Lucas de Nehou, the director, to take in hand 
the royal manufactory of glasses. Shortly after, he was 
able to send from it the splendid decorations of the galerie 
des fetes for Versailles. Thenceforth, it could no longer 
be a question of counterbalancing the minute dimensions 
of the mirror by the development of its frame; the latter, 
therefore, underwent a transformation, and, like the 
borders of wainscotings, was reduced to delicate arabesque 
combinations connected by wreaths of flowers, relieved by 
masks and palmettes, or by shells and acanthus foliage. 
Notwithstanding the increased dimensions of the glasses 
their effect was still more heightened by inlaid pieces. Thus 
sections of glass were ranged at each corner of the principal 
sheet of glass, whether oval or rectangular, then pieces to 
form a border, and others forming a pediment at the top, 
and a pendant towards the base; gilded and carved wood 
united them all, hiding the joints by ingenious intersections, 
and furnishing the architectural framework with its chief 
designs, its stems and wreaths, its crowned masks, requisite 


.: ^ %' ' ?y\ 

Plate CXV 

Sixteenth Century Italian Mirror 

Cluny Museum 


for consolidating the masses and giving points of attraction 
to the eye. These sculptures are of extreme elegance of 
composition arid of great delicacy of workmanship." 

Therefore, the mirror was now seen in every home and 
in every room. Several, indeed, were often hung in one 
room. One, of course, was placed over the chimney-piece, 
which was adorned with a handsome clock, on either side 
of which stood a gilt candelabrum of several arms. These, 
reflected into the glass, added brilliancy to the room, and 
were reflected back and forth by the pier-glasses between 
the windows. 

In the bedrooms, of course, a mirror hung over the 
dressing-table, or stood upon it. 

Two large looking-glasses, with green ebony frames, and 
two other large looking-glasses appear in the inventory 
of a wealthy lady of the period, who also possessed a table 
of " calembour ^ wood, which encloses a toilet of the 
same wood, ornamented with gold, containing two dressing- 
boxes and looking-glass, one pin cushion, one powder- 
box, and two brushes of the same." 

The Duke of Buckingham started a factory in Lambeth 
about 1670, and sent for the best glass-makers, glass- 
grinders, and polishers from Venice, which, we are told, 
" succeeded so well as to be now enabled to send to that 
very place and to every other part of Europe, and to 
Asia, Africa and America, the finest glass of all sorts that 
the world can produce." In 1677 Evelyn notes of a visit to 
Lambeth : '* We also saw the Duke of Buckingham's glass- 
works, where they made huge vases of metal as clear, 
ponderous and thick as crystal; also looking-glasses far 
larger and better than any that come from Venice." 

The Vauxhall Plate Glass factory was in operation until 

1 Calembour, or eagle-wood, a sweet-scented species of aloes that 
comes from the East. 



1780. Charles II. forbade the importation of any kind 
of glass; and this, of course, gave a strong incentive to 
native talent. The secrets of manufacture were guarded, 
but glass was made in Vauxhall in much the same manner 
as in Murano. The largest plates measured four feet ; and 
when a larger mirror was required, two or more pieces 
of glass were used. Small mirrors were also often made 
in two sections. Many of these Vauxhall mirrors were 
exported to America. 

At first the frames were of ebony, olive-wood and 
walnut; at the end of the Seventeenth Century lacquered 
frames were popular and soft wood carved and gilded, or 
a composition of something like plaster of Paris, moulded 
and gilt. 

About the time of the Restoration, decorative frames 
were made. At first they were architectural in character; 
but later they became simpler and were often but a narrow 
margin or " list " of walnut, or ebony, or wood stained 
black to represent ebony. The glass was usually beveled 
and the outline of the bevel followed the curves of the inner 
frame. The Vauxhall plates were small; and, therefore, 
the mirrors were often in two pieces, the larger one at the 
base and the smaller one, forming a sort of panel, at the 
top. The upper panel was finished with a dull surface, 
and figures and patterns were cut in the back of the glass, 
producing an effect like that of embossed work or gem- 
cutting. Sometimes two or three plates were framed 
together and the joints hidden by bands of gilded wood, 
or metal, like the outside frame, or by strips of colored 

The great carver, Grinling Gibbons, made a number of 
exquisite mirror- frames with beautifully executed flowers 
and fruits; but the richly carved frame of his style soon 
changed for that of Louis XIV. French mirrors were 



now imported into England. Many Huguenot refugee 
workmen now made frames in England in the French 
style and after designs of Marot. Instead of the great 
wreath of flowers and fruits, the decoration motives were 
heavy garlands of the bell-flower, the scroll, the mascaron 
and the urn. 

When the Dutch styles came in with William and Mary 
the mirror frames were often inlaid with colored woods in 
the new taste. 

A Queen Anne mirror, oblong in shape, with elegantly 
carved gilt frame, the design being foliage and gadrooning, 
was recently sold in London for £26; and one of the Wil- 
liam III. period in English marquetry frame, with flowers 
and foliage, beautifully inlaid in colored woods and ivory 
on a walnut ground, for £43. 

The mirror was equally if not still more important in 
the days of Louis XV. The frames are most ornate for 
pier-glasses, smaller mirrors and sconce arms which often 
encircle or spring from the frame of a looking-glass. The 
decorators of the day give many designs in which the curve 
is exhibited in every possible contortion. There are leafy 
scrolls, chutes of leaves and husks, shells, mascarons, 
flowery branches, crawling dragons, serpents, monkeys and 
mythological figures that are more and more fantastically 
treated until the styles change again. 

Chippendale, being a carver, naturally delighted in 
designing frames for pictures and mirrors. In his day 
the tall pier-glasses between the windows were as important 
as the mantel-glass, and were frequently carved to cor- 
respond. Moreover, the girandoles that carried the side 
lights for the drawing-room and dining-room and which 
were hung on either side of the mantel-piece, were also 
furnished with a looking-glass, not only for ornament, but 
for the purpose of reflecting the lights of the candles and 



rendering the room more brilliant. Chippendale's frames 
naturally show him when he is perhaps in his most character- 
istic moods. They bristle with spiky leaves in which 
long-tailed, long-beaked birds peck at scrolls, leaves, and 
icicles, and sometimes squawk at mandarins standing under 
pagodas. Subjects from mythology and ^sop's Fables 
are blended with Chinese motives or the fantastic scroll 
and leaf-work of the Louis XV. Style which Chippendale 
used so beautifully. He was very clever — as clever as the 
French designers — in making the sconce-arms emerge 
from the leaves or scrolls in natural and graceful sweeps. 

The Chippendale mirrors are frequently in several 
divisions; but the union of the separate plates is always 
hidden under the foliage or the rock and shell-work. Chip- 
pendale mirrors now bring large prices. Within the past 
five years the following sums have been realized in London : 

A Chippendale gilt mirror, with three lights, 5 feet, 6 
inches high and 4 feet wide, scroll frame with floral border, 
£89; a pair of Chippendale girandole mirrors, 4 feet, 5 
inches high, i foot, 5 inches wide, gilt and carved in Gothic 
design, £2"]-, a pair of Chippendale mirrors, 8 feet long, 3 
feet, 6 inches wide, with Vauxhall plates in two divisions, 
scroll and floral carved frame, surmounted with masks, 
£79; a Chippendale mirror, carved and gilt, 7 feet, four 
inches long, 4 feet, 2 inches wide, 90 guineas; a Chippen- 
dale bevel-edged mirror, 7 feet high, 3 feet wide, upright 
black frame with festoons of flowers, foliage, rosettes, 
acorns, and arabesques in relief, 38 guineas. 

Cornices were also carved in sympathy with the mirrors, 
and other furniture and wood- work of the room. In the 
bedrooms the window-curtains matched those of the bed. 

The American colonists always kept up with the latest 
fashions in England. In the wealthy houses of both North 
and South the newest styles in silver and furniture were al- 


Plate CXVI 

Chippendale Gilt Mirror Frames; Chippendale Walnut and 

Gilt Mirror Frame 

American Gilt Frame Mirror (1800-1825) 

Metropolitan Museum 


ways to be seen. In the early days when mirrors came into 
use in England, the landed proprietors here had them also. 
The old inventories are full of entries of looking-glasses 
with olive-wood frames, looking-glasses with black lists, 
etc., etc. ; and as the years go on and fashions change, the 
items in the wills and inventories show that the rich house- 
holders constantly bought the newest and the latest articles 
in furniture. Even if this were not the case, the many 
advertisements in the current newspapers of importations 
from London and the many cards 
from carvers and gilders and looking- 
glass makers who offer to remodel old 
glasses, cutting them into the correct 
shapes and sizes and framing them in 
the newest styles, show that there was 
a great demand for such work. A 
glance through the old New York 
newspapers shows the following facts: 

In 1730 "James Foddy, Citizen and ^^SSeJ^bv ZS""" 
Glass-seller of London, who arrived 
here at the end of last June and brought with him a parcel 
of very fine looking-glasses of all sorts," acquainted the 
public that he ^' undertook to alter and amend old looking- 

In 1735 Mr. Duyckinck, at the Sign of the Two Cupids, 
near the Old Slip Market, had new looking-glasses and 
frames plain japanned or flowered. 

Towards the middle of the Eighteenth Century chimney- 
glasses with carved walnut or gilt frames, valued at from 
thirty to eighty pounds, were not uncommon in rich New 
England houses. They were often supplied with arms for 
candles. A gilt-edged walnut frame in 1748 is valued at 
120 pounds, and another with walnut frame and brass 
arms at 37 pounds, 10 shillings. All through the last three- 



quarters of the Eighteenth Century mahogany was used 
for frames, and also pine-wood stained to resemble 
mahogany. Walnut and gilded wood was a very popular 
combination and the carved and gilded frame always held 
its own. 

Among the items advertised by various merchants we 
see gilt and plain looking-glasses of sundry sizes, in 1745; 
japanned dressing-glasses, in 1748; new fashion sconces 
and looking-glasses, in 1749; looking-glass sconces, in 
1750; sconces and pier-glasses of all sizes, in 1752; an 
assortment of sconces, gilt and carved in the newest fash- 
ions, in 1753; newest fashioned looking-glasses from 
London, in 1757; a variety of sconces with branches in 
walnut frames with gilt edges, in 1757; looking-glasses 
framed in the newest taste, £8 to £30 apiece, in 1761; 
looking-glasses from 2 to 6 feet, in 1764; convex and con- 
cave mirrors, in 1764; two carved white-framed sconce 
glasses, in 1764; handsome pier-glass and two sconces 
with gilt frame, in 1768; large pier-glass in an elegant 
carved frame, in 1769; painted frame looking-glasses, 
in 1773; and also in that year oval glasses, pier-glasses 
and sconces in burnished gold, glass bordered and mahog- 
any and black walnut frames, with gilt ornaments of all 

In 1769 Minshall, a carver and gilder from London, 
settled in Dock Street and had carved frames for glasses; 
and by the end of the century he had built up a big business 
in this special line. In 1775 Minshall's Looking-glass Store 
in Hanover Square, opposite Mr. Goelet's Sign of the 
Golden Key, advertised " an elegant assortment of looking- 
glasses, in oval and square ornamental frames; ditto 
mahogany. Also an elegant assortment of frames without 
glass. Any Lady or Gentleman that has glass in old fash- 
ioned frames may have them cut to ovals, or put in any pat- 



tern that pleases them best. The above frames may be 
finished white, or green and white, purple, or any other 
color that suits the furniture of the room, or gilt in oil, or 
burnished gold equal to the best imported." 

The mirrors designed by the Adam brothers are light, 
graceful and charming, and Heppelwhite's are no less so. 
The oval mirror now becomes of great importance, and also 
the mirror with sconce-arms which Heppelwhite calls 
" girandole." 

Heppelwhite was fond of the oval mirror with the light 
falling bell-flower used as a festoon, often looped from a 
little bracket on which stood a small urn. Pier-glass frames 
were usually square, of good carved work, gilt and bur- 
nished. Heppelwhite says that '' they should be made 
nearly to fill the pier. They must be fixed very low, and 
the panels of the sides are frequently made of various 
colored glass." 

" Girandoles," Heppelwhite says, " admit of great variety 
in pattern and elegance; they are usually executed of 
the best carved work — gilt and burnished in parts. They 
may be carved and colored suitable to the room." 

The concave and convex mirror with gilt frames and 
branches for candles became very popular in Sheraton's 
day and they lasted for many decades. Such mirrors were 
frequently framed in black, ornamented with gilt balls, 
and surmounted by a gilt eagle. Many of these are pre- 
served in old American homes. 

Another style in great favor was the long mirror. 
Sheraton says: 

" Glasses for chimney-pieces run various, according to 
the size of the fireplace and the height of the wall above. 
To save expense, they are sometimes fitted up in three 
plates and the joints of the glass covered with small gilt 
mouldings or plasters. At other times with the naked 



joint only. When they are of one plate, the frame in 
general is made bolder and more elegant." 

Sheraton also says: 

" In elegant rooms the chimney -glass is usually carried 
to the under side of the cornice of the ceiling; but to reduce 
the expense of the plate, sometimes a broadish panel is 
introduced at the top of the glass with a frieze and cornice 
above all, included in the frame of the glass." 

" The most generally approved pilasters for chimney and 
pier-glasses are those of 3, 5, or 7 reeds worked bold; 
but which, in my opinion, still look better by being parted 
with a ground one-third of the width of the reed, which 
may be matted to relieve the burnished reeds. It is not 
unusual to have a twisting branch of flowers, or a ribband 
round the reeds rising upwards and terminating in some 
sort of Composite, Corinthian or Ionic capital. The panel 
above the glass is sometimes made quite plain and covered 
with silk as a ground for drapery, tacked under the corner 
of the glass to match that of the windows." 

Looking-glasses in gilt, mahogany and walnut frames 
(1801); elegant gilt frames with pillars, balls, enamelled 
frieze and eagle tops all sizes, mahogany frames of all kinds, 
gilt and plain, made in the most fashionable manner, walnut 
and satin-wood frames, nutwood, enamelled and elegant 
gilt, the plates 70 by 50 inches (1803); German looking- 
glasses (1810) ; looking-glass, square pediment and double 
columns, and one, ditto, with eagle on top (1811) ; convex 
mirrors handsomely ornamented from London (1811); 
dressing-glasses and convex mirrors from 12 to 24 inches 
in diameter, ornamented in a most superb manner with six 
lights (1812); rich gilt frame pier and match mirrors 
(1823) ; rich mantel glass, cost $1,600 (1823), and convex 
mirrors (1823). 

The mirror as a part of the dressing-table is comparatively 


»,;,,> ' 





y-fi <T> 




SO a 
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modern. In the Sixteenth Century, and before, the dress- 
ing-table was merely a simple table covered with a cloth, and 
over it spread a white linen or lace " toilette." Upon it, 
or above it, hung a mirror the frame of which was carved 
and gilt, or olive-wood or ebony or wood stained black to 
represent ebony; or, in wealthy homes, of solid silver. 

In the middle of the Eighteenth Century the little oval, 
shield-shaped, or square glass that stood upon one or two 
drawers, was a separate piece of furniture and was placed 
on a chest of drawers or shaving-stand. Sheraton and 
Heppelwhite frequently added looking-glasses to their 
dressing-tables and shaving-stands, but usually connected 
them in drawers with mechanism that allowed them to be 
elevated or hidden at pleasure. In the Empire period the 
mirror often formed a part of the dressing-table and the 
cheval, or glass on a horse frame, also became popular. 

The Screen 

Screens are of three kinds : the folding-screen composed 
of two, three, or more leaves; the screen on a horse frame; 
and the pole-screen supported on a rod. The folding-screen 
is found in every country, with a more or less decorated 
frame, covered with leather, tapestry, silk, velvet damask, 
and even paper. 

In the days of Louis XIV. the paravent, or folding-screen, 
and the ecran, or horse-screen, were in every room. The 
material was usually tacked to the frame with large gilt- 
headed nails, as in the handsome example from the Cluny 
Museum represented on Plate CXVII. This belongs to 
the period of Louis XIV. The wood-work is gilded, and 
the covering of petit point tapestry, reminding us of the 
Marot designs. On the same plate a screen of the next 
period is also represented. This is also of carved and gilded 



wood framing a piece of tapestry, the subject of which is 
taken from ^sop's Fables. It represents the Wolf and the 
Lamb surrounded by flowers and shell-work on a dark 
brown ground. In general form, the frame resembles the 
favorite chair-backs of the day. 

In Chippendale's book we find that the screens standing 
on four legs are called " horse fire-screens." Some of them 
fold and others slide up and down in a groove. 
Chippendale also made pole-screens. Pole- 
screens were also a favorite (see Plate 

Heppelwhite's horse fire-screen " is sup- 
ported by uprights standing on feet, and the 
screen slides up and down in grooves in these 
uprights." The framework is usually mahog- 
any, and the screen of green silk or needle- 

Heppelwhite's " Pole fire-screen " is made 
of mahogany or japanned wood, and " may 
be ornamented variously with maps, Chinese 
figures, needlework, etc. The screen is sus- 
pended on the pole by means of a spring in 
the eye through which the pole goes." The 
two outer feet were often loaded with lead to keep them 

Sheraton has similar pole-screens; and he also gives 
designs for Tripod Fire-Screens, to be made in white and 
gold, mahogany or japanned. Sheraton says: 

" The rods of these screens are all supposed to have a 
hole through them and a pulley let in near the top, on 
which the line passes, and a weight being enclosed in the 
tassel, the screen is balanced to any height. The rods are 
often made square, which, indeed, best suits those which 
have pulleys, while those that are made round, have only 



' >' > ' 


Chippendale Clock 


rings and springs. Such screens as have very fine prints, 
commonly have a glass before them. In which case a frame 
is made with a rabbet to receive the glass and another to 
receive the straining-frame, to prevent it from breaking the 
glass; and to enclose the straining-frame a bead is mitred 

The Clock 

In the history of modern furniture the clock is of little 
interest until the pendulum clock, constructed by Huygens 
and described by him in 1658, was introduced. Then the 
long pendulum was enclosed in the tall pedestal-shaped box, 
and it quickly found favor everywhere. 

Boulle and his sons, for instance, made many clock-cases, 
and of two kinds: clocks that were destined to stand on 
the chimney-piece or on brackets and long case clocks. The 
latter — about six feet high — wonderful creations of mar- 
quetry cabinet-work and bronze ornamentation. 

Marot was another who designed clocks. Tall clocks, 
long case clocks, and clocks that stand on brackets and 
pedestals or terms appear in his books. Many of Marot 's 
clocks, indeed, standing on pedestals or terms, appear at 
first glance as long case clocks ; but close standing shows a 
break between the base of the clock and the top of the 

A clock and pedestal in the Wallace Museum (see Plate 
CXIX.) is a fine example of the decorative art of the tran- 
sition period of Louis XIV. to the Regency. It is mar- 
quetry of metal on tortoise-shell, the frame, works and 
ornaments cast and chased in the Boulle atelier. The sub- 
ject of the medallion on the pedestal is Hercules taking the 
world on his shoulders while Atlas goes to get the golden 
apples of the Hesperides. 



In the Wallace Collection there is also a handsome clock 
and cabinet or vitrine in various woods, with groups and 
mounts of gilt bronze, cast and chased, and signed Herve 
a Paris. It is a fine example of the style of the Regency. 
On either side of the clock are groups of a boar and a 
stag being worried by dogs; and above it sits Diana 
patting a hound, while Cupid tries to deprive her of her 

During the first half of the Eighteenth Century there was 
quite a rage for japanned cases. The decorations were, 
of course, Oriental designs similar to those on the high case 
of drawers on Plate XXIV. A very handsome clock of this 
kind is preserved in the Boston Museum of Art. 

Mahogany cases in the Chippendale Style were in great 
favor. The one represented on Plate CXVIII. is 8 feet, 3 
inches high and 2 feet, i inch wide. The case is orna- 
mented with carved lattice-work and boldly pierced columns 
at the corners, supporting a frieze of lattice-work and arches 
above which is a small toothed cornice. The face is en- 
closed in a band of carved lattice- work with arched top, 
and with pierced tapering square-shaped columns at the 
angles, supporting a scroll-shaped lattice and dental pedi- 
ment terminating in rosettes, with low plinth in the centre 
and a metal gilt ball with steeple top at each side. The base 
has a square panel bordered by a broad band of lattice- work, 
and carved with broken masonry at the angles in relief. 

In Sheraton's first book he gives a number of designs 
for tall clock-cases " painted and japanned," but in 1803 
he says that he has given no design of the tall clock-case 
as " these pieces are almost obsolete in London," but intends 
to do so in his large work " to serve my country friends." 

Regarding the more fashionable bracket he writes: 

" Clock-brackets are used to place small time pieces upon, 
when there is no other convenient place; but in good 


Plate CXIX 

Boulle Clock and Pedestal, late Louis XIV. to Regency 
Wallace Gallery 


rooms the chimney caps are made broad, of marble, and 
serve very advantageously to place a clock on. Sometimes 
they stand upon commodes, at the end of the room, facing 
the fire-place; but when these conveniences are wanting, a 
bracket supplies their place." 



Acacia, i 

Acorn bulbs, 159, 188, 222 

Adam, James, 74 

Robert, 74 
Adams, The, 66 
Adam Style, 73-6 

cabinets, 135 

mirrors, 247 

table, •75-6 
Addison, quoted, 55 
iEsop, 65, 191, 244, 250 
Albany Institute and Historical and 

i^t Society, 233 
Alcove-beds, 163, 166, 170 
Alnwick Church, 98 
Amaranth, 46, 139, 143, 211, 228 
Amber, 29, 130, 131 
Amsterdam, 38 
Andrea del Sarto, 14, loi 
Anglaise, 213 
Anglo-Dutch chairs, 189 

desk, 147 
Anglo-Saxon beds, 151 
Animal forms in furniture, i, 2, 3, 5, 

174, 179 
Animal feet, 179, 180 

heads, 184, 187 
Anne of Austria, 43, 45 
Anne of Brittany, 113 
Anthemion, 3, 45 
Antique style, 83, 204 
Antwerp, 128 
Apple and apples, 24, 30 . 
Arabesques, 16, 24 
Armarium, 105 
Armoire, 18, 104-7, "3» 116, 124, 141, 


Louis XV., 107 

V. de Vries, ii6 

d deux corps, 106, 148 

en secretaire (bed), 168 
Area, 95 
Arche, 95 
Ark, 97 
Amoult, 61 
Arphe, Juan de, 21 
Arras, 152 
Ash, 3, 24 

Assyrian chairs, 174-5 
Attributes, floral, 142 

pastoral, 69, 71, 194 
Aubusson, 195 
Augsburg, 131 
Aulnoy, Madame d', 127 
Aurora, 46 

Bachelier, Nicholas, 20, 22 
Bahut, 6, IS, 95, 96, 100 
Ball-and-claw, 57, 64, 147, 189, 224, 

Ball feet, 107, 108, 224 
Balusters, 30 
Banquette, 193, 207 
Barguenos, 126 
Barjair, 192, 204 
Baroque style, 90 
Bartolozzi, 74 
Battlements, 5 
Bayeux Cathedral, 105 
Beaufait, 117 
Beauvais, 195 
Bed, 6, 10, 13, no, 149-173 

alcove, 163, 166, 170 

Anglo-Saxon, 151 



Bosse, Abraham, 159-60 

camp, 157, 158 

cane, 167 

Chippendale, 164-5 

commode y 168 

Corsini Palace, 160 

couch, 163 

Cromwell's, 158 

Diredoire, 169 

dome, 164, 165 

Duchesse, 170-1 

Egyptian, 149 

Empire, 169-173 

"England," 158 

field, 113, 164, 165, 166, 170, 173 

Fifteenth Century, 155 

folding, 168 

Frangois I., 17 

French, 169-70, 172, 173 

Grecian, 149-50 

Heppelwhite, 165 ^ 

Louis XIV., 160-2 

Louis XV., 162-4 

Louis XVI., 166 

mahogany, 173 

maple, 173 

Marie Antoinette's, 166 

Marot, 162 

Mary Stuart's, 159 

Mediaeval, 153, 154-S 

Moliere's, 160 

niche, 166 

patriotic, 81 

pavilion, 160 

Pompadour's, Mme. de, 166 

press, 165-6 

Queen Anne's, 162 

Queen Mary's, 162 

Renaissance, 156 

Richard III.'s, 155 

Roman, 150-1 

Seventeenth Century, 159-60 

Sheraton, 170-1 

Sixteenth Century, 156-7 

sofa, 163-4, 166, 167, 168, 172-3 

Susanna's, Princess Palatine, 13, 157 

Tudor, 158 

Turkish, 149 

d la turque, 169 

truckle, 159 

trimdle, 159 

Venetian, 155, 165 

waggon-top, 165 

Ware, great bed of, 158 

William III., bed of, 162 
Bedchamber (Fifteenth Century) ^ 

Bedroom (Twelfth Century), 153 
Bebe, 213 
Beech, 3, 134, 191 
Beef-wood, 34 
Bell-flower, 54, 66, 75, 77, 79, 121, 

201, 204, 243, 247 
Bench and benches, 10, 178, 180, 182 
Benneman, G., 72 

commode by, 143 
B6rain, Claude, 52 

Jean, 46, 52, 107, 138 
Bergere, 168, 192, 197, 205-6, 212 

en gondole, 207 
Berruguete, 21 
Billet, 5 
Bimont, 193 
Birch, quoted, 2 
Bird, long-tailed, 244 
Bird-cage, 71 
Blondel, 70 
Board, 218 
Bombs commodey 141 

sweep, 44, no 
Bonaparte, Joseph, 82 

Napoleon, 81 
Bonheur dujour, 146, 225 
Bonnaff^, quoted, 18, 22, 23, 25 
Bookcase, Chippendale, 147 

Sheraton, 148 
Borgherini furniture, 13-5 
Borgoiiu, F. de, 22 
Borne, 89, 213 
Boromini, 58 
Bos, Comelis, 26 
Bosse, Abraham, 29, 31 



Bosworth, Battle of, 155 
Boucher, 70, 192, 195 
Boudin, L., 61, 140 
Boulle, A. C, 29, 49-50, S3, 57, 61, 

armoires, 107 

clock, 251 

commodes, 138-9 

tables, 224 

Pierre, 128 
"Bouquet," 160 
Box, 24 

Brass-beading, 205 
Brass bedsteads, 93 
Brass handles, 109 
Brass inlay, 29, 84 
Bread-and-cheese cupboards, 115 
Brocades, 46 

Bronze furniture, 2, 3, 150 
Bronze ornamentation, 49, 63, 79, 

gilt ornamentation, 82 

work, 72, 145, 146 
Bronzes, 52 
Bruns, J. A., 82 
Buckingham, Duke of, 241 
Bu^el and buffets^ 105, 106, 115-9, 


-armoire, 124 

d deux corps, 115 

dressoir, 116 

Lyonnais, 106-7 

-stool, 183 
Bulb ornament, 35 
Bulbs, 24, 159, 188 
Bull's head, 65, 75 
Buontalenti, 131 
Bureau, 144, 226 

-commode, 138 

de commode, 138, 226 

en commode, 138, 144 

Cr6qui, 144 

cylinder, 225 

Marie de' Medici's, 109, 144 

Regency, 140 

Riesener, 140, 146 

du rot (Louis XV.), 61, 70, 145-6 

table, 14s, 225 
Buroe tables, 229 
Buroe dressing-tables, 141 
Burgundian dressoir, 11 3-4 

school, 19 
Burgundy, 106, 107, 113, 182-3 
Byzantine Style, 4 

tables, 217 

Cabinet and cabinets, 29, 37, 38, 90, 
117, 126-38 

Adam, 135 

d* Allemagfie, 131 

china, 136-7 

Chinese, 136-7 

de la Dauphine, 61 

a deux corps, 106 

Dutch, 133 

ebony, 130, 131, 132 

Flemish, 128 

German, 132 

Heppelwhite, 135 

Italian, 130, 134 

Japanese, 133 

lacquered, 133 

leather, 129 

Louis XIII., 129 

marquetry, 134 

Nuremberg, 128 

painted, 135 

Queen Anne, 134 

Seddons, 136 

Sheraton, 80, 135 

Spanish, 127 
Cabinet Dictionary, The, 79 
Cabinet-maker, 36, 126 
Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer^s Draw- 
ing-Book, The, 79 
Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer^s 

Guide, 76, 165 
Cabinet-Maker^ s London Book of Prices 

and Designs, 77 
Cabinet des Modes, 168 
Cabriole chairs, 202 

legs, 56-7, 108, 189, 224 




Cabriolets, 191, 195 

Caduceus, 65 

Cafi&eri, Filippo, 48, 49, 70 

Jacques, 60, 61, 75, 139, 140 
Calembour wood, 241 
Camaieux, 191, 194 
Camp-beds, 157, 158 
Camp furniture, 15 
CanapS, 182, 190, 196 

confident y 193 

Marcus, 213 

pommier, 207 
Canapeum, 182 
Cane, 171, 199, 206 
Cane bed, 167 
Canterbury, 236 
Capitsoldi, 75 
Caricature, 5 
Carlin, M., 69, 71 
Carpaccio, 155 
Carpets, 2, 152 
Cartouche, 26, 30, 45 
Carving, 5-6, 9, 65, 97, 128, 155, 156, 
158-9, 179, 180, 182, 194, 223 

Flemish, 26 

German, 23 

Renaissance, 16, 17, 18, 20 

Spanish, 8, 22 
Caryatides, 17, 20, 75, 102, 142, 157 
Case-of-drawers, 104, 108-10 
Caskets, 103 
Cassoni, 11, 13, 100 
Catherine of Braganza, 128 
Catherine de* Medici, 131, 186 
Catherine II. of Russia, 146 
Cauvat, 69 
Caylus, 68 
Causeuse, 191 

Cedar, i, 3, 22, 34, 181, 223 
Cellaret, 122, 125 
Certosino, 10, 11, 12, 99 
Chair and chairs, 6 

Anglo-Dutch, 189 

arm, 185, 190, 195-6, 205, 207 

Assyrian, 174-5 

bamboo, 209 

bar-back, 207 

cabriole, 202 

cane, 199 

Charles the Second, 188 

Chinese, 66, 197, 199 

Chippendale, 57, 189, 197-9 

conversation, 205 

curricle, 204 

curule, 181 

crown-back, 57, 189 

desk, 204, 208 

dining-room, 192, 196 

Directoire, 207 

Doge's, 184 

double, 189 

drawing-room, 205 

Egyptian, 175-6 

Empire, 84 

fancy, 80, 85, 205, 206, 209-10, 

Fifteenth Century, 180 
Flemish, 187, 188 
folding, 180, 182, 184, 186 
Fourteenth Century, 180 
French, 187-8, 197, 198, 204 
German, 178-80 
gondola, 196, 207, 208 
Gothic, 176, 197 
Greek, 176-7 
Heppelwhite, 77, 201-4 
high-back, 182, 183, 184 
Hogarth, 57, 189 
hunting, 205 
Italian, 32, 180, 182 
kangaroo, 176 
ladder-back, 189 
Louis XII., 182 
Louis XIII., 29 
Louis XIV., 190 
Louis XV., 63, 191-4 
Louis XVI., 72 
low-back, 184 
lyre-back, 196 
mahogany, 202-3 
Marot, 188 
Moli^re's, 189 



painted, i8o 

parrot, i86 

prie-dieu^ 178 

Renaissance, 183 

revolving, 181 

ribbon-back, 197-8 

Roman, 177-8 

rout, 236 

scissors, 185 

Seventeenth Century, 183 

shield-back, 184, 208 

Sheraton, 80, 204-6 

Sixteenth Century, 181-3 

Spanish, 184 

Spanischer, 213 

St. Peter's, 4 

Tenth Century, 179 

Thirteenth Century, 17&-9 

"thrown," 181 

tour, 181 

Trafalgar, 210 

tub, 205 

Voltaire, 212, 213 

vertugadin, 181 

Windsor, 189, 209, 210 

X-shaped, 180, 185 
Chaise brisSe, 185 

caquetettse, 186 

caquetoire, 186 

confortable, 212, 213 

confessionale, 191 

longue, 168, 190, 192, 193, 197, 200, 
206, 207, 212 

perroquet, 186, 187 

d tenailles, 185 

voyeuse, 187 
Chambers, Sir W., quoted, 41 
Chambre, 151 
Champeaux De, quoted, 20, 26, 124, 

Charlemagne, tables of, 217 
Charles VIII., expedition of, 15 
Chateau de Bellevue, 62 
Checker, 5 
Cherry, 24, 223 
Cheist, 97 

Chest, cheste, and chests, 6, 9, 13, 15, 

95, 104, no, 178, 180 
Chests, Dutch, 103 

Italian, 100-2 

paunch, 138 

Spanish, 100 
Chest-of-drawers, 56, 104 
Chest-upon-chest, 104 
Chest-with-drawers, 104 
Chest-makers, 97 
Chestnut, 217 
Cheval-glass, 249 
Chevaux-bahutiers, 96 
Chimerical animals, 24 
Chimney-glass, 248 
Chimney-piece, 46 
China, 55-6 
China cabinet, 136 

cases, 137 

cupboard, 136 
Chinese beds, 164-5 

chairs, 66 

chair-bottoms, 85 
Chinese Design, A New Book of, 66 
Chinese dragons, 51, 243 

fumitiire, 41-3 

mandarin, 65, 244 

mania, 41, 43-4 

objects, 55 

pagoda, 65, 244 

sophas, 164-5 

style, 41, 51, 65, 120, 136, 137 

taste, 51, 137, 244 
Chinoise, Le style, 58 
Chippendale Style, 63-7 

Thomas I., 63 

Thomas II., 41, 54, 63-4, 73, 74, 104, 
117, 119-20, 136, 137, 138, 141, 

Thomas II., quoted, 164-5, 198, 199, 

beds, 164-5 
chairs, 66, 189, 197-9 
clock, 252 
glass doors, 147 
mirrors, 243-4 



screens, 250 

settle, 66-7 

sideboard-tables, 119-20 

sofas, 199-200 

tables, 229 

Thomas III., 63, 64 
Choir-stalls, 185 
Christie's, 208-9, 235 
Cipriani, 75, 135 
Claas, Alaert, 26 
Classic columns, 16, 17, 204 
Classic Orders, 13 
Classic style, 58 
Cl^risseau, 74 
Clocks, 251-3 

Boulle, 251 

brackets for, 253 

Chippendale, 252 

japanned cases, 40, 252 

mahogany cases, 252 

Marot, 251 

and pedestal, 251 

Sheraton, 252 

tall, 252 
Clothes-press, 104 
Clouston, R. S., quoted, 78, 122 
Climy Museum, 99, loi, 106, 129, 

144, 155, 239, 249 
Coeck, Peter of Alost, 27, 28 
Coffer, 95, 97, 102-3 
Coffers, marriage, 100-2 

tilting, 99-100 
Cofres de Chypre, 103 
Colbert, 240 
Collins, 74 
Columbani, 75 
"Comfortable" period, 89 
Commode, 109, 138-144, 226, 244 

en arbalete, 140 

d la Bagnolet, 140 

Benneman, 142-3 

a la Charolais, 140 

d la Chartres, 140 

d la Dauphine, 140 

Directoire, 143 

Empire, 143 

half-moon, 143 

d la Harani, 140 

Heppelwhite, 142 

Louis XIV,, 139 

Louis XV., 139-41 

Louis XVI., 72, 142-3 

d panse, 138 

d la Regence, 140 

Regency, 139 

Riesener, 139, 141, 142 

Sheraton, 80, 142 

en tomheau, 138 
Commodes bureau-tables, 141 

dressing-tables, 144 

tomheaux, 143 

writing-desks, 144 
Compartments, 26 
Confidante, 203 
Copland, H., 66 
Copper ornaments, 49 
Cordovan leather, 7, 32 
Corner-cabinet, 138 
Cornucopia, 30, 45 
Corsini Palace, bed from, 160 
Cotgrave, 181, 183, 185, 186 
Cotte, Robert de, 60 
131, Couch-bed, 163 

Court-cupboard, 25, 34, 114 
Crapauds, 213 
Creance, 110 
Credence, 6, iio-ii 
Credenza, 110 
Creed of an Epicure, 115 
Cr^qui, Marechal de, bureau of, 144 
Cressent, Charles, 52, 57, 58, 140 
Cromwell, Oliver, bed of, 158 
Crusade, First, 152 
Cucci, Domenico, 47, 48 
Cuffi, D., 59 
Cupboard, 10 
Cuirs, 27, 35, 102 
Cuir bonilli, 102 
Cupboard-press, 104 
Curios, 55, 133 

Cushions, 2, 4, 183, 194-5, 196, 200, 



Cylinder bureau, 145, 146, 225 

desk, 232 
Cypress, 22, 25, 223 

D£u[s, 182 
Damasks, 46, 152 
Darly, Matthias, 66 
David, 82 
D'Aviler, 162 

quoted, 11 7-8 
Dauphine, 195 
Decadence, 23, 30, 35, 36 
Decoration, motives of, i, 2, 5, 17, 

20, 24, 27, 33 
Delafosse, 67, 69, 166 
Delaune, 116 
De Lalonde, 71 
Delft pottery, 39 
Delia Bella, 31 
Dervilliers, 213 

Designs in Gothic Furniture, 91 
Designers of the Renaissance, 

Desk, Heppelwhite, 77, 147-8 

Queen Anne, 146-7 

roll-top, 14s 

wheel, 9 

see Bureau 
Desmalter, Jacob, 82 
Deville, quoted, 143, 214 
Diamond points, 5, 26 
Dictionaire de I' Acadimie, 138 
Dietterlin, 125 
Diocletian's Palace, 74 
Directoire beds, 160 

chairs, 207 

commodes, 143 

Style, 73, 81 
Divan, 207 
Dolphin, 65 
Dolphin's head, 211 
Dome-beds, 164, 165 
Double chest, no 
Dragonnades, 54 
Drap de bure, 144 
Draperies and drapery, 29, 65, 87- 

Dream of St. Polyphilus, 155 

of St. Ursula, 155 
Dresden Museum, 132 
Dressing-bureau, 109 
Dressoir, 6, 8, 1 10-15 

Burgimdian, 113-4 

Du Cerceau, 116 
Dressoir-bufet, 112 
Dripping-water, 137, 141 
Drop-handles, 109 
Du Barry, Madame, 69, 71, 195 
Dubois, J., 61, 63, 146 
18, Du Cerceau, Jacques Androuet, 18-19, 
26, 27, 107, 108, 113, 116, 129, iss 

dressoirs, 116 
Duchesse, 168, 170-1, 193, 197, 200, 

204, 212 
Dufaux, Martin, 51 
Dugourc, 69 

Dumb-waiters, 225, 226, 236 
Duplessis, 61, 70, 14s 
27, Diirer, Albrecht, 22, 23 
Dutch chests, 103 

cabinets, 133 

furniture, 56 
Dyche, quoted, 117 

Eagle, 247 

Ear motive, 32, 65 

East India Company, Dutch, 38, 39 

English, 38, 40 
East India House, 40 
Ebeniste, 36, 106 
Eberard II., 180 

Ebony, i, 24, 25, 26, 30, 33, 35, 45, 83, 
84, 97, 107, 126, 127, 128, 129, 
130, 175, 176, 219, 221, 242 

cabinets, 130, 131, 132 

carving in, 128 

green, 241 
£cran, 249 
Edwards, 66 
Egg-and-tongue, 2 
Egyptian motives, 81 

chairs, 175-6 
■8 Style, 1-2, 68 



Elizabethan, 24 
Elm, 3, 211 
Empire beds, 169-73 

commodes, 143 

furniture, 82 

mirrors, 249 

sofas, 212 

Style, 71, 72, 78, 79, 81-6 

writing-desk, 148 
Encoignures, 63, 138 
"England bed,^' 158 
Escabeau and Escabeaux, 6, 183 
Escritorios de la Chine, 38, 128 
Espagnolettes, 52, 139 
Esther, 149 

Evel}^!, John, quoted, 43-4, 128, 241 
&tagere, 90 
Etruscan Art, i, 3 
Exhibition of 185 1, 91 

F. of Frangois I., 17 

Faldistoire, 9 

Fald-stools, 179, 185 

Fan, 75, 109 

Fancy Chair, 80, 85 

Fancy Sofa, 85 

Faudesteuil, 184 

Pauteuil, 180, 190, 191, 192, 193 

bergire, 196 

d la chinoise, 195 

de commodity, 192 

confessionale, 192, 196 

gondola, 212 

d la polonaise, 195 

a la turque, 195 
Feather, 66, 73, 195 
Feathers, Prince of Wales's, 77, 201 
Fernandez, J., 127 
Festoon, 75, 79, 204 
Festoon and tassels, 77 
Fibrug, P., 127 
Field-beds, 39, 163, 164, 165, 166, 170, 

Fifteenth Century beds, 155 

chairs, 180 

furniture, 8-9 

Fish-counters, 228 
Flamboyant Style, 112 
Flemings in England, 25 
Flemish cabinets, 131 

chests, 103 

chairs, 187-8, 197, 198, 204 

tables, 223 
Foot (and feet), animal, 179, 180 

ball, 107, 108, 224 

ball and claw, 57, 64, 147, 189, 224, 

console, 194 

hind's, 223 

leaf-shoe, 139, 140, 141, 191, 194, 


lion's, 217 

Marlborough, 201 

peg-top, 194 

scroll, 194, 2 n 

shell, 194 

spade, 121, 201 

Spanish, 188 
Floris, Cornelius, 27 

Frans, 27 

James, 27 

style, 27 
Flotner, Peter, 155 
Foddy, James, 245 
Folding-beds, 157, 168 

chairs, 180, 182, 184, 186 

sofas, 197 

tables, 219, 223 
Fontainebleau, 142 

school of, 28 
Fontange, Mademoiselle de, 138 
Footstools, 175, 176 
Forli, Melozzo da, 183 
Forms, 180 
Forty, 69 

Fourteenth Century chairs, 180 
Fragonard, 195 
Francisco, 127 
Francois I., 14 

bed, 17 

style, 16-17 
French beds, 169-70, 172, 173 




commode-tables, 141 
furniture, 172-3 
Fret, 2 

Froissart, quoted, 218, 
Fureti^re, quoted, 182 


Gadroons, 24, 220 
Galerie des fetes, 240 
Garde-huche, 100 
Garde-Meuhle, 142 

Garlands, 16, 17, 20, 30, 31, 45, 71, 194 
Garrick, David, 64 
Gaudreaux, 60 
Gavet Collection, 106 
Genevra dei Bend, loi 
Genre auriculaire, 32, 65 
Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker^ s Direc- 
tor, 63 
Geometrical ornamentation, 5, 11, 33, 

German cabinets, 131, 132 

chairs, 178-80 

influence on French furniture, 73 

looking-glasses, 248 

tables, 217 
Gesso duro, 100 
Ghirlandaio, loi 
Gibbon, Edward, 64 
Gibbons, Grinling, 34, 243 
Gilded furniture, i, 2, 7, 13, 18, 22, 45, 
65, 156, 184, 191, 194, 200, 207, 
223, 240 

leather, 7 
Gillot, Claude, 52, 53, 57, 58 
Gilt-bronze ornamentation, 75 
Gillow, Richard, 236 
Girandoles, 45, 62, 77, 243, 247 
Glass-inlay, i, 2, 36, 

see Mosaic 
Glass, painted, 132 
Glorious Revolution, 54 
Gobelins, 44, 46, 47, 48, 51, 195 
Gold furniture, 3, 35 
Gold ornamentation, 179 

table, 216 
Goltzius, 26 

Gondola, 192, 193 
Gondouin, J., 70 
Gothic, 90, 91 

architecture, 5 

chairs, 176, 197 

furniture, 9-10 

style, 5-15, 65, 86, 87 

tables, 218 
Gouthiere, 68, 69, 75 
Goujon, Jean, 20, 107, 113 
Gozzoli, loi 
Granacci, 14 
Grecian beds, 149-50 

squab, 206 

sofas, 210, 211, 214 

style, 84 
Greek chairs, 176-7 

style, 2-3, 83 

tables, 216 
Greenwich, 114 
Gribelin, Samuel, 56 
Grotesques, 27 
Guadameciles, 7 
Guiridon, 223 
Gu^rin, 225 
Guilloche, i, 8, 26 
Gumley, John, 134 
Gutierrez, P., 128 

Haig, Thomas, 64 
Hainhofer, P., 132 
Half-moon commode, 143 
Hamilton, William, 136 
Hamlet, 152 
Hampton Court, 54 
Hare wood House, 73-4 
Havard, quoted, 50, 213 
Heemskerck, Martin van, 26 
Henri H., 128 

ornamentation, 17 

style, 17-21 
Henrietta Maria, 43 
"Henry," 212 
Henry Vin., 25, 114 
Heppelwhite, Alice, 76 

George, 76, 121, 122, 123 



Style, 76-7 

quoted, 121, 122, 123, 165, 201, 202, 
203, 204, 231-2 

beds, 165 

cabinets, 135 

chairs, 201-4 

commodes^ 142 

desks, 147-8 

mirrors, 247 

screens, 250 

sofas, 203 

tables, 231 
"Herculaneum," 205 
Hernandez, G., 22 
Herodotus, 149 
Hervieux, 70, 145 
Hexagon, 30 

High-boy, 41, 108-10, 141 
High chair, 9, 20-1 
Hind's foot, 223 

Hodges, C. C, quoted, 97, 98-9 
HoUy, 3, 24 
Hongre, Louis le, 51 
Honeysuckle, 45 
Hope, Thomas, 83 
Horn, 97 
Horsechestnut, 2 
Horsehair, 202, 203, 208, 211 
Household furniture, 83 
Huche, 6, 95, 100, 126 
Huchiers, 100, 106 
Huet, 57 
Huguenots, 53 
Human figures, i, $ 
Huquier, 58 
Huygens, 51, 251 

Icicles, 66, 244 

lie de France, 106, 107, 113 

Ince and Mayhew, 66, 137 

Incroyables, 196 

Inlaid- work and inlay, i, 3, 4, 6, 10, 
II, 12, 18, 23, 35, 36, so, 76, 84, 
93, 99, 108, 129, 136, 139, 179, 121 
d la moresque, 102 

Intarsia, 11 

Irving, Washington, 85 
Isle des Hermaphrodites, 35, 185 
Italian cabinets, 130, 134 
chairs, 180, 182 
chests, 100-2 
furniture, 6-7, 13-15, 32 
Ivory, I, 3, 4, 6, 10, 12, 29, 35-6, 38, 
93, 97, 100, 103, 126, 127, 129, 
130, 150, 176, 17s, 179, 217, 243 

Jacobean period, 33 
Jacquemart, quoted, 5, 9 
Jane of Burgimdy, 151, 219 
Japanned furniture, 35, 65, 206, 250, 

Japanning, 39, 201, 203 
Jardiniere, 227, 237 
Java mahogany, 34 
Jesuit Style, 21 
Johnson, Thomas, 66 

Sir WiUiam, table of, 228 
Jones Collection, 69, 107 

Inigo, 34 
Joubert, 60 
Judith, 149 

Kas, 107-8 

Kauffmann, Angelica, 75, 80 

Kaunitz, Prince de, 145, 226 

King-wood, 34 

Kist, kiste, 97 

Knife-cases, 79, 123 

"Knots," 107, 108 

Kunstschrank of Pomeranian 132-3 

Kyst, kyste, 97 

Lacquer, 35, 37, 39, 40, 41, Si, 108, 

109, 133-4, 139, 142, 146 
Lacquered commodes, 141 

cabinets, 133 

furniture, 38-9, 65 
Lambeth, 241 
Lapis-lazuli, 36, 130 
Laval, De, quoted, 37-8, 128 
Leaf-shoes, 139, 140, 141, 191, 194, 




Leather, 2, 7-8, 26, 102, 180, 181, 182, 

d romaine, 163 

184, 192, 193, 202, 208 

de satyrs, 158 

cabinets, 129 

d tombeau, 163, 166 

Leborde, De, quoted, 22 

d tulipe, 163 

Le Brun, 44, 46-7, 48, 204 

d la turque, 163, 168 

Leg, cabriole, 56-7, 108, 189, 224 

Litchfield, quoted, 92-4 

bound with ribbons, 71, 194, 202 

Livery-cupboard, 114-5 

grooved, 71 

Lock, Matthias, 66 

pillar-and-claw, 235 

Loret, 225 

reeded, 79 

Lorian, 225 

sabre, 121, 201, 213 

Loriot, 61 

spindle, 108 

Lothar, Emperor, 216 

spiral, 222 

Lotus, 77, 176, 201, 204 

term, 188, 224 

Louis, J. P., 82 

thousand, 222 

Louis XII. chairs, 182 

X-shaped, 208 

Style, 15-17, 113 

Leieu, J. F., 69, 70 

Louis XIIL, 29-30 

Lemarchand, 82 

cabinet, 129 

Leo X., 183 

tables, 220 

Lepautre, Antoine, 47 

Louis XIV., 44-53 

Jean, 47, 48, 54 

beds, 160-2 

Lequeu, 71-2 

chairs, 190 

Levasseur, £., 61, 72 

commodes, 139 

Levetus, A. S., quoted, 217 

mirrors, 242 


Linenfold, 6, 24, 28, 99, in, 153, 180 

screens, 249 

Line, straight, 67 

tables, 223 

Lion's feet, 217 

Louis XV. Style, S7-6S, "9, 140, 146 

head, 207 

armoire, 107 

Lisbon, 37, 38, 127 

beds, 162-4 

Lit d'ange, 161, 163 

bureau table, 145 

anglais or anglaise, 163, 166, 170 

chairs, 19 1-4 

de baldaquin, 160 

commodes, 139-14.T 

d la chinoise, 168 

mirrors, 243 

de coin, 168 

screens, 250 

d deux chevets, 163 

tables, 224-5 

d double tombeau, 164 

Louis XVI., 67-73 

d la duchesse, 161-2, 167, 170 

beds, 166 

de la federation, 169 

chairs, 72, 194-6 

dfleche, 163 

commodes, 142-3 

en housse, 159-60, 161, 167 

writing-desks, 148 

d V impSriale, 160, 162, 163 

Louvre, 106, 128, 129, 130, 

146, iSS, 

de Melusine, 158 


en oUomane, 163 

Low-boy, 41, 108, 109 

de perse, 167 

Lozenges, 5, 33, 35, 75, 142, 

146, 176 

d la polonaise, 163, 167, 168 

Lucas van Leyden, 26 

de repos, 88, 168, 190, 197 

Luini, Bernardo, 12 



Lyonnais work, 113 
Lyons, 106, 113 
Lyre, 79, 204 

Mac6, Jean, 129 
Mademoiselle, La Grande, 43 
Mahogany, 56, 75, 76, 78, 83, 91, 109, 

125, 127, 148, 169, 173, 188, 190, 
194, 196, 201, 204, 206, 207, 208, 
210, 211, 223, 228, 231, 234, 235, 
250, 252 

Mainwaring, Robert, 66 
Maitres-Huchiers-Menuisiers, 1 00 
Manchettc, 190, 191 
Mansion, S., 82 
Manual du Tapissier, 193 
Maple, 3, 150, 173, 211, 223 
Marble furniture, 3 

inlay, 181 

slabs, 62, 221, 224, 231, 237 
Marbles, 23, 36, 46, 130, 142, 223 
Marcion, 82 

Margaret of Austria, 129, 158 
Margherita Acciajuoli, 13, 14, 15 
Maria Novella, Sta., loi 
Marie Antoinette, 71, 195 

bed of, 166 
Marie of Gonzaga, 131 
Marie de' Medici, 30, 31, 43, 109 

bureau of, 144 
Mariette, quoted, 53 
Marot, Daniel, 54 

bed, 162 

chairs, 188 

clock, 251 

tables, 224 
Marlborough foot, 201 
Marquetry, 2, 5, 6, 11, 13, 23, 24, 25, 
31, 35, 36, 61, 63, 70, 'j^, 103, 

126, 130, 134, 139, 140, 142, 143, 
14s, 146, 181, 184, 185, 220, 223, 

Marquetry cabinets, 134 

commodes, 141 
Marquise, 192 
Marriage coffers, 100-2 

Martellange, fitienne, 21 
Martin, A. N., 62 

J. A., 62 

Robert, 62 
Martin, Vemis, 139 
Mary of Burgundy, 152 
Mary Stuart, bed of, 159 
Mascarons, 30, 65, 103, 139, 220, 224, 

Masks, 24 
Mazarin, Cardinal, 43, 49 

Library, 50 
Mechanical devices, 65, 73, 77, 79, 

225, 230 
Medallions, 75, 78, 194, 196, 202, 204 
Mediaeval beds, 153, 154-5 

Meissonnier, J. A., 58-9, 60, 199 

sofa, 199 
Menuisiers-huchiers, 112 
Miridienne, 89, 207, 212 
Metal furniture, 2, 3, 216, 217 

mounts, 139 

tables, 217 

work, 140 
Metropolitan Museum, 102, 108, 109, 

III, 148, 156, 231 
Mirrors, 239-49 

Adam, 247 

cheval-glass, 249 

chimney, 248 

Chippendale, 243-4 

concave, 247 

convex, 247, 248 

dressing, 249 

Empire, 249 

gilded wood, 240 

Girandole, 244, 247 

Heppel white, 247 

pier-glasses, 247, 248 

Queen Anne, 243 

Renaissance, 239 

Sheraton, 247, 248 

Sixteenth Century, 239 

Venetian glass, 239-240 

William III., 243 



Molifire, bed of, i6o 
chair of, 189 
tables of, 224 
Molinier, quoted, 10-12, 48, 52, 

58, 59, 68-9, 73, 82-3, 91 
Monkey, 52, 56, 57, 65, 225, 243 
Monnoyer, J. B., 56 
Moreau, L., 143 
Mosaics, 12, 24, 29, 130, 131, 217, 

Mosaic, marble, 93 
Mosque of Cordova, 3 
Mother-of-pearl, 12, 18, 23, 29, 

38, 39, 103, 108, 129, 130, 

Munich Museum, 10, 13 
Museimi of Industrial Art, Berlin, 
Music, rage for, 90 
Musical instruments, 69 
Murano, 239, 240 
Mythological animals, 3, 20, 243 
divinities, 45, 65, 243 

Nail-heads, 24 
Nancy, Palace of, 158 
Napoleon I., 81 
Napoleon III., 146 
Nest-of-drawers, 104 
Neufforge, 69 

New York, mirrors in, 245-7 
Niche-beds, 166 
Nicot, quoted, 182 
Nonsuch House, 25 
Noyon, Cathedral of, 105 
Nuremberg, cabinets, 128 
Nuremberg Museum, 10 
Nutwood, 34, 108, 133 

Oak, 22, 24, 25, 34, 107, 125, 
181, 191, 196, 217, 223 

Age of, 35, 56 
Octagon, 30 
QSben, J. F., 60, 61, 70, 145 

Simon, 61 
(Eume de Damas, 6 
Olive-wood, 3, 34, 243, 245 

Oppenordt, A. J., 49 

G. M., 57 
Oriental influences, 36-44 
53, Orleans, Due d', 138 

Duchesse d', 144 
Or moulu, 80, 85, 145, 146, 168, 224, 

225, 238 
Ornamentation, Adam, 75 
221, Chinese, 51 

Chippendale, 65 

Elizabethan, 24 

Frangois I., 17 
36, Gothic, 5-6 

131, Greek, 2 

Henri 11. , 17 

Henri III., 18 
13a Henri IV., 18 

Heppel white, 77 

Italian, 16 

Louis XIII., 30 

Louis XIV., 45 

Louis XV., 57, 62 

Louis XVI., 69, 71 

Marot, 54 

Renaissance, 16, 17 

Romanesque, 5 

Sheraton, 79 
Ottoman, 167, 193, 197, 214-5 
Ottoman d la reine, 197 
Ottomane en gondole, 197 
Ovals, 35, 71, 78 

Pabst, F. J., 82 

Pafrat, 9, 71 

Painted furniture, 7, 12, 13, 22, 35, 

135, 180 
Paintings, rage for, 90 
Palermo, 152 
134, Palissandre, 34, 143, 211 
Palladio, 34 
Panelling, 33 
Panels, 26 
Panos de raz, 152 
Papier macM, 92 
Paravent, 249 
Pardo, G., 22 



Passe, Crispin van den, 31 
Pastoral trophies, 69, 71, 194 
Patera, 2, 79, 201, 204 
Paunch chests, 138 
"PaviUon," 158 

bed, 160 
Pavilion de Louveciennes, 69 
Pears, 30 

Pear-wood, 24, 25, 34 
Pechi Mortel, 200 
Pediments, 17 
Pendeloques, 27 
Percier, 81, 82, 83, 237 
Percier and Fontaine, 82 
Pergolesi, M. A., 66, 74 
Persian, 191 
Petit, N., 61 
Philip the Good, 152 
Philip II., Duke of Pomerania, 132 
Philip III., 128 
Philip IV., 129 
Pietra dura, 36, 127, 131 
Pier-glasses, 224, 247, 248 
Pillar and daw, 235 
Pilon, G., 113 
Pine, 3, 22, 134, 217, 223 
Pine-cones, 174 
Pionnier, P., 61 
Piranesi, 68 
Pitti Palace, 130 
Placet, 181 
Plaques, use of, 62 
Pollen, quoted, 33 
"Pontine," 160, 162 
Pompadour, Madame de, 61, 6a, 69, 


bed of, 166 

table of, 225 
Pompeii, 95 

Pompeii and Herculaneum, 68 
Porcelain, 37, 39, 62 
Pouch-tables, 234 
Pouf, 89, 213, 214 
Press, 97, 104 
Press-beds, 165-6 
Prie-dieu chair, 153 

Precious stones, 23, 36, 38 
Puff, 214 
Pugin, A. W., 91 

Queen Anne, 55 

bed of, 162 

cabinets, 134 

mirrors, 243 

settees, 189 
Queen Hatshepsut, chair of, 176 
Queen Mary, bed of, 162 
Quiver, 71 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 34 
Ram's head, 65, 75 
Ranson, 71, 166 
Rape of Helen, loi 
Rape of the Lock, quoted, 228 
Raphael, 13, 183 
Rat-tooth braid, 191 
Raynham Hall, 64 
Refugie, style, 53-7, 162 
Regency, 52, 54, 57 

biureau, 140 

commodes, 139 
Renaissance Style, 16, 90, 184 

English, 24-5 

Flemish, 25-8 

German, 22 

Spanish, 21-2 
Renaissance furniture, 12, 15-28 

beds, 156 

chairs, 183 

mirrors, 239 

tables, 219-20 
Repository, Ackermann's, 86, 91, 237 
Restoration (1815-1830), 89-90 

chairs, 211 
Reubens, 31 

Style, 31, 43 
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 53 
Reynolds, Sir J., 64 
Riaiio, quoted, 22 
Ribecci, 74 
Ribbons, 71, 195 
Richard III., bed of, 155 



Richelieu, 31, 130 

table of, 221 
Riesener, J. H., 61, 69, 70, 141, 145 

bureau, 140, 146 

commode, 141, 142 
Robert of Sicily, 152 
Rocaille, style, 51, 58, 140 
Rock crystal, 62 
Rococo, 90, 93 
Roentgen, David, 73 
Roman arch, 13 

style, 3, 83 

chairs, 177-8 

tables, 216 
Romanesque Style, 4-5 
Rose, 74 

Rosenborg, Castle of, 132 
Rosette, 2, 68, 75, 201 
Rosewood, 24, 78, 83, 91, 139, 144, 
176, 194, 204, 214, 215, 22s, 228, 
Rouaix, quoted, 17, 30, 31 
Rubens, 31 

Style, 31, 43 

Sabre leg, 91, 208 

Sacredaan, 34, 103, 108, 222 

Saglio, A., quoted, 19, 20, 47, 60 

Saint Mark's Treasury, 184 

Saint Simon, quoted, 186 

Salamander, 17 

Salmagundi, quoted, 85-6 

Sambin, Hughes, 19, 20, 107, 113, 220 

Sandal-wood, 133 

Sandford, James, quoted, 115 

Sans Souci, 62 

Salembier, 166 

Salzburg, 180 

Santa Maria delle Grazie, la 

Sarcophagus, 13 

Satin-wood, 75, 78, 83, 121, 135, 201, 

206, 225, 234 
Satire, 5 
Saunier, C, 70 
Sauval, 180, 218, 
Saw-tooth, s 

Scandinavian tables, 217 
Schieferstein, Hans, 131 
Schrank, 10 
Schwanhard, Hans, 131 
Scone Palace, 159 
Screens, 249-51 

Chippendale, 250 

folding, 249 

Heppelwhite, 250 

horse, 249 

horse fire, 250 

Louis XIV., 249 

Louis XV., 250 

pole fire-screen, 250 

Sheraton, 250 

Tripod fire-screen, 250 
Scroll, 83, 243 
Scroll and shell, 57 
Sea-weed, 134 
Seats, 2, 174-215 
Second Empire seats, 214 
Seddons cabinet, 136 
Sellette, 183 

Serlio, Sebastian, 27, 28 
Serre-papiers, 145, 225 
Settee, 189, 200 

Sheraton, 205 
Seventeenth Century beds, 159-60 

chairs, 183 

tables, 221-23 
Sevres plaques, 62, 73, 141, 146, 226 
Seymour, 213 

Shearer, Thomas, 77-8, 122, 123 
Shell, 45, SO, 65, 77, 97, 243 
Shepherds' crooks, 194 

hats, 71 
Shepherdesses, 194, 195 
Sheraton, Thomas, 78-80, 122, 123 

quoted, 118, 123, 170-1, 204-6, 
232-3, 234-6, 253 

beds, 1 70-1 

bookcases, 148 

cabinets, 135 

chairs, 204-6 

clocks, 252 

commodes, 142 



glass-doors, 148 

mirrors, 247, 248 

screens, 250 

settees, 205 

sideboards, 117, 119-25 

sofas, 206 
Sheraton Style, 78-80 
Sheraton's Encyclopaedia, 79 
Siamoise, 213 
Sideboard, 117, 119-25 

Adam, 120 

cellaret, 79-120 

Chippendale, 119-20 

Empire, 123-5 

Heppelwhite, 77, 121-3 

pedestal, 120 

Shearer, 77-8, 120 

Sheraton, 123 

table, 117, 119-20 
Silver furniture, 3, 35, 128 

ornamentation, 62, 179, 221 

tables, 223 

work, 128 
Silvered furniture, 18, 45, 192 

leather, 7 
Simon, Constance quoted, 64-5, 73- 

4, 120-1 
Singeries, 53 
Sixteenth Century beds, 156-7 

chairs, 181-3 

furniture, 12-15 

mirrors, 239 

tables, 220-1 
Sixtus IV., 183 
Smith, George, 83 

quoted, 63 
Sobry, quoted, 124 
Society of Arts, 64 

Sofa-beds, 88, 163-4, 166, 167, 168, 

d /' antique, 168, 197 
Sofa and sofas, 196, 197, 200 

bar-back, 204 

Borne, 213 

Chippendale, 164-5, 199-200 

Directoire, 21a 

divan, 207 

Empire, 212 

fancy, 85 

Grecian, 84, 210 

Heppelwhite, 203 

Meissonier, 199 

meridienne, 89, 207, 212 

pommier, 197 

Sheraton, 206 

d la ckinoise, 197 

d la polonaise, 197 

d la iurque, 197 
Sont, I, 
Sopha, 182 

Chinese-Chippendale, 164-5 
South Kensington Museum, 100, 107, 

119, 127 
Spade-foot, 121, 201 
Spades, 71 
Spalatro, 74 
Spanish cabinets, 127 

chests, 100 

feet, 188 

fiumiture, 8 

walnut, 22 

wood-carvers, 127 
Spanischer, 213 
Sphinx, 75, 81, 207, 236, 237 
Spindle leg, 108 

ornament, 53 
Spiral leg, 222 
Spoon-case, 123 
Squab, 104 
Squirrel, 65 

Stafford, John, quoted, 89, 237 
Stanislaus, King, 146 
Star, 5, 75 
St. Cloud, 146 
Stockel, Joseph, 73 
Stone inlay, i 
Stools, 6, 181, 185, 203 
Strap-work, 24, 33, 194, 195, 202 
Straw-matting, 85 
Stripe, 73, 77, 78, 166, 202 
Style, Adam, 73-^6 

Antique, 83, 204 



Auriculaire, 32, 65 

baroque, 90 

Byzantine, 4 

chinois, 58 

Chippendale, 63-7 

Classic, 58 

Diredoire, 73, 81 

Du Barry, 69 

Egjrptian, 1-2, 68 

Empire, 71, 72, 78, 79, 81-6 

flamboyant, 112 

Floris, 27 

Francois I., 11-17 

Gothic, 5-is, 6s, 86, 87 

Grecian, 84 

Greek, 2-3, 83 

Heppelwhite, 76-7 

Jesuit, 21 

Louis XIL, 15-17, 113 

Louis XIII., 29-30 

Louis XIV., 44-53 

Louis XV., 57 

Louis XVI., 58, 67-73, 90 

Marie Antoinette, 69 

Marot, 54 

Refugie 53-7, 162 

Regency, 52, 54, 57 

de la Reine, 71 

Renaissance, 16, 90, 184 

Rocaille, 58, 60 

Rubens, 31, 43 

Sheraton, 78-80, 122, 123 

troubadour, 90 

Table and tables, Adam pier, 75-6 
d banc, 223 
Boulle, 224 
bureau, 225 
buroe, 229 
Byzantine, 217 
Canterbury, 236 
card, 223, 228, 231 
Charlemagne's, 217 
Chippendale, 229 
Cicero's, 3 
console, 224, 227, 229, 237 

dining, 230, 235 

dining, extension, 227 

dining, set of, 232 

drawing, 222 

dressing, 226, 229-30, 231-3, 249 

drop-leaf, 222 

dimib-waiter, 236 

Egyptian, 216 

Eighteenth Century, 225, 226-36 

Empire, 236-7 

extension, 236 

Flemish, 223 

d fleurs, 227, 237 

flower, 227, 237-8 

folding, 219, 223 

Franks, 217 

gate-legged, 222 

German, 217 

Gillow, 236 

gold, 216 

Grecian, 216 

GuSridon, 223 

hang-ear, 222 

Harlequin-Pembroke, 233 

Heppelwhite, 77, 231-2 

jardiniere, 227, 237 

Kidney library, 235 

ladies' cabinet dressing, 234 

library, 232 

Louis XIIL, 220 

Louis XIV., 223 

Louis XV., 63, 224-5 

Louis XVI., 226 

mahogany, 223, 231 

Marot, 224 

metal, 217 

Moli^re, 224 

moving, 225 

oval, 217, 222 

Pembroke, 231, 233, 238 

Pie-crust, 229 

pier, 231, 232-3, 238 

pillar-and-claw, 235, 236 

pouch, 234 

quartette, 236 

Renaissance, 219-20 



Richelieu's, 221 

Roman, 216 

round, 217, 222 

rout, 236 

Rudd's dressing, 232 

Scandinavian, 217 

servante, 226 

Seventeenth Century, 221-3 

shaving, 230, 231, 234 

Shearer, 78 

Sheraton, 232-6 

show, S5 

sideboard, 119-20, 230 

silver, 223 

Sixteenth Century, 220-21 

spider-leg, 235 

stone, 218 

tambour, 234 

tambour writing, 232 

tea, 228-9, 237 

Tenth Century, 217 

Thirteenth Century, 218 

"thousand-legged," 222 

tip-and-tum, 229 

writing, 225 

work, 234 
Table-cloth, 221, 223, 224 
Tabouret, 181, 183, 192, 193 
Tambour-shutter, 77, 79, 123, 226, 

232, 234 
Tapestries and tapestry, 4, 8, 46, 62, 

73, 151-2, 153, 191, 192, i9S» 197, 
207, 249 
Tarsia, 11, 12, 99, 184, 185, 221 
Taste, decline of, 91-4 
Tazza, 201 
Tedeschi, 87 
Tenth Century chairs, 179 

tables, 217 
Term-shaped legs, 188, 224 
Termed figures, 17 
Tite-d-tite, 89, 212, 213 
Thirteenth Century chairs, 178-9 

tables, 218 
Thomire, 68, 72, 82 
Thyine-wood, 3 

Tilting coffers, 99-100 
Toledo, Cathedral of, 22, 185 
Torch, burning, 71, 72 
Tortoise-shell, 29, 31, 127, 130, 131, 

139, 150, 217 
Toiuraine, School of, 113 
Tracery, 5, 180 
Trafalgar chair, 91 
Trestles, 180 
Trevoiix, 186 
Trianon, 146 
Trophies, 26, 69 
Truckle bed, 159 
Trundle bed, 159 
Tuileries, 146 
Tulip-wood, 84, 13s 
Turned furniture, 35 
ornaments, 33 

Umbrella, 65 

Upholstery, 54, 62, 151, isgHSo, 162, 

183, 204, 207, 211 
Urn, 77, 79, 166, 201, 204 

Vargas, 126 

VarguenoSy 126, 127, 144 
Vasari, quoted, 221 
Vasco da Gama, 37 
Vases, 30, 75, 204 

sideboard, 122 
Vauxhall plate glass, 241-2 
Velasco, Lucas de, 127, 
Velvet, 46, 183 
Veneering, 79 
Venetian beds, 155, 165 

glass, 239, 240 
Vernis Martin, 61, 62, 76, 139 
Victorian Age, 91-4 
Violet- wood, 34, 223, 228 
Vitrine, 136 

"Vitruvius," the English, 34 
Voltaire, quoted, 161 
Voltaire (chair), 212, 213 
Vouet, Simon, 31 
Voyelle, 196 
Voyeuse, 187, 196, 205 



Vries, Hans Vredeman de, 26, 27, 108, 
116, 125 

Waggon-top beds, 165 

Wallace Collection, 50, 51, 60, 139, 

140, 146, 224, 251 
Walnut, 24, 34, 35, 107, 143, 184, 185, 

194, 222, 223, 242 
Age of, 56 
Walpole, Horace, 64 
Wardrobe, 10, 107, no 
Ware, Great bed of, 158 
Watteau, 52, 53, 57, 58, 191, 200 
Wave-scroll, 2 
Wedgwood, 78, 142 
Weisweiller, A., 73 
Wheeler, O. G., quoted, 104, 119, 120, 

136, 137, 188 
Wilkes, John, 64 
William III. (of Orange), 54, 119 

bed of, 162 
Winant, 70, 145 
Window slools, 203 

Windsor Castle, 50 

chair, 189, 209, 210 
Winckelmann, 68 
Wine-cooler, 125 
Woods, I, 3, 22, 24, 34, 83-4 

colored,io, II, 12, 13, 26,30, 128, 243 

exotic, 130, 139, 217 
Wotton, Sir Henry, 34 
Wreaths, 75 

Wren, Sir Christopher, 34, 54 
Writing-desk, 146-7, 148 

X-shaped chair, 180, 185 
legs, 208 

Yew, 24 
York House, 91 
York Minster, 105 
Ypres Cathedral, 100 

Zig-zag, 2 
Zucchi, 74, 75 
Zwiener, 146 






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;j0inn9?2-5-8 nn 






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, General library